Album Premiere: SPACESHIPS – ‘Ruins’

Posted: by The Editor

I first became aware of SPACESHIPS with 2019’s Tiny Fires EP, and when they followed it up with Pillars the following year, I was blown away. The South Bend quartet had truly honed their jagged post-hardcore to a pointed edge, their clearest mission statement yet. It was hard to imagine where the band might go after 2020’s opus; it was hard to know if they’d even continue.

Last year saw the release of Retrouvéa split with Friend Club labelmates Analecta (ferociously underrated on their own) and the “Chatroom” single (recontextualized here), and they provided an answer. The band got spacier, gazier, heavier, and more atmospheric than ever before. Last month they released “Spillt,” featuring Ryan Osterman of Holy Fawn, as the first single off their third LP Ruins. The inclusion of Osterman’s harsh vocals made perfect sense: SPACESHIPS’ Bandcamp labels them “post-gaze/dream metal,” two descriptors that’d be perfect fits for Holy Fawn’s sound too.

The rest of Ruins, which we’re excited to premiere in full a day early, follows suit. Even the cover art seems to hint towards the band’s rebirth; previous releases were colored in black and white, a hint of dulled gold for contrast, where here the whole thing seems to be bursting with life, bright hued and bold. Ruins is a phenomenal step for the band, one that sees them cast off the trappings of traditional heavy music and embrace a sound entirely their own. Of course, sure, there are bands who come to mind at various points: the aforementioned Holy Fawn, Deafheaven, maybe even Thrice. But taken as a whole, Ruins is the most complete statement SPACESHIPS has ever released.

It’s also the band’s first record since their 2013 debut that wasn’t tracked live. Vocalist/guitarist Nat FitzGerald shares that “I spent years multitracking albums as a solo project before SPACESHIPS, so I’ve wanted to do everything we could to capture the energy of a band in a room, and the best way I thought to do that was to literally record a band in the room. But between lockdown and the juggling act of new kids and jobs, we couldn’t do that this time around. Instead, I brought everybody into my basement studio one by one and worked on a section at a time. It was far more time-consuming, but every part of the song got a lot more attention this way.” It helped give these songs the room they needed to breathe, and it made way for additional, more novel instrumentation: baritone guitar, drum machines here and there, some saxophone. Ruins is the record they’ve been building towards for a decade. Check it out below.

Ruins is out tomorrow on Friend Club Records.


Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.