Album Review: Spielbergs — ‘This Is Not The End’

Posted: by The Editor

Listening to This Is Not the End, the debut LP from garage punk trio Spielbergs, one might assume that the Spielbergs are a ragtag group of recent college grads holed up in a South Philly basement, pouring their hearts out into their scrappy music, their one shot at indie rock stardom. This Is Not the End is an album that’s brimming with youthful energy, an almost-naive optimism (featuring the lyrics “We could be perfect/You could’ve made me better/We could be soulmates”), and an unbridled passion.

What’s crazy is that the members of Spielbergs are actually in their thirties and veterans of Oslo’s punk scene, but it starts to make more sense the more familiar you become with their music. A pop-punk gem like “Bad Friend” could have only been written by seasoned punks—while its hook of “You’re a bad friend to me may read as juvenile on paper, it makes for a cathartic singalong. The same is true of “Distant Star”, a holdover from the band’s 2018 EP of the same name. It’s fuzzy, catchy, and above all else it’s flat out fun. The song’s half-minute guitar solo is sure to earn a place among the best musical moments of the year come December (is it too early to say that?).

Impressively, Spielbergs occasionally drift away from their sonic roots throughout This Is Not the End’s 50-minute runtime, playing with atmosphere in ways few punk bands would ever dare to. “Familiar” and “McDonald’s (Please Don’t Fuck Up My Order)” are essentially post-rock songs with vocals, the latter a sparse seven-plus-minute ballad built on just guitar and piano (which is more or less the furthest possible sound from the rest of the album). They channel late-era Moving Mountains on the dreamy “Sleeper,” a whispered acoustic song that almost feels like a coda to “McDonald’s.” It’s a gorgeous song, though, admittedly, placing the album’s two slowest and quietest songs together was a strange move, especially since together they add up to over a fifth of the album’s length.

The album regains steam in its finale, as “Forevermore” reframes the ambient textures of the more experimental tracks into the context of a punk song. It’s a great closer, a synthesis of all the band’s strengths and a wonderful way to wrap things up. Hopefully This Is Not the End is a mission statements—the beginning of a wonderful new band in the punk scene. Spielbergs have created something special here, so turn it up, play it loud, and sing along.

Disappointing / Average / Good/ Great/ Phenomenal

This Is Not The End is out now on By The Time It Gets Dark. You can order it on Vinyl/CD here.

Zac Djamoos | @greatwhitebison

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