Crafting a sultry weave of blues and folk rock which is as intriguing as it is openly magnetic, US rock band Sperø makes a richly flavoursome proposition which is just as potent for the imagination as ears. The quartet has just released the Pride EP, a spicy collection of songs which sparks everything from feet through to emotions with sublime ease. Its initial touch admittedly was strong if not striking but by half way through the first track there was the realisation that it had wormed under the skin and seduced the psyche with inescapable majesty, and from there submission was inevitable.
The beginnings of Sperø come with self-taught guitarist Jesse Hofstee and classically trained pianist Hillary Laughery rehearsing together daily in Southern California in 2013. Exploring and crafting a sound which infuses classic and modern influences from the likes of Neil Young and Manchester Orchestra, the band subsequently expanded with the addition of bassist Nick Hankins and drummer Ryan Malette. They were soon taking their unique rock ‘n’ roll around the San Diego area to an increasingly growing and inflamed fan base. That first year saw the release of the well-received debut album Rational Paths, a potent entrance backed by the band’s live expansion touring up and down the West Coast and appearing at RedGorilla Music Festival. Now they unveil the Pride EP, a release “written as a testament to the great benefits of believing in yourself and working hard to get what you want”, and a proposition to seduce a new wealth of hearts and appetites it is easy to suspect.
Recent single Can’t Get More opens up the release and soon has ears grasped by vocal harmonies and fiery riffs. It is an attention sparking start which as swiftly relaxes into a smouldering stroll of inflamed grooves cored by a tangy bassline ridden by the vocals of Hofstee. It’s a potent coaxing but still does not ignite a lot more than intrigue initially. That changes once Laughery opens up her rich and seductive tones as the chorus suddenly comes alive and feistily tempts, which in turn seems to incite the rest of the song. As mentioned earlier it is around halfway that feet and voice find themselves involved and that enslavement is realised and binding. The track is a glorious slice of emotively hued expression under a sultry climate, but even with its rich persuasion soon surpassed by the outstanding Friend.
From the first stroke of its acidic and irresistibly captivating groove the second song is in command of thoughts and passions, it’s aggressively shimmering air, a gripping wrap to the two vocalists and the dramatic elegance of Laughery’s keys. Growing with every chord and syllable, the track is soon rocking speakers and ears with a mix of blues and old school rock ‘n’ roll, a stomp sounding like The Black Keys meets Jerry Lee Lewis under the persuasion of The Lumineers. It is a blaze of a treat, a song as comfortable and commanding whether gently coaxing or rigorously stoking the fires of it and the listener’s passion.
The EPs title track idles in next, a lone acoustic guitar beckoning before welcoming the mischievous drama of beats and keys. As with the first two songs, there is a swagger to the encounter which even in its initial slow steps is unmistakable and inviting. There are also outbursts of creative urgency and intensity, again as in the previous song, which only ignites air and imagination as a tenacious blues tempting binds the whole climactic web. Everything aligns for another irresistible highlight of the release before the full on seduction of Better Man. With a shimmering crawl of a slim evocative melody courting the delicious vocals of Laughery, the song simply glows as it sublimely and tenderly enthrals the senses. Unbridled temptation from its first breath and atmospherically cinematic throughout, the song is pure magnetism of voice and electrified strings, with only the restrained ambience of keys for company.
The pungent presence of Talking Up makes the perfect contrast next, its bulbous bassline and electro baiting a thick shadow to the again sultrily laying sonic endeavour of guitar and keys around compelling vocals. Its psychedelic blues tinged air over another slowly strolling gait makes the brilliant track as gripping in drama and sound as anything before it, whilst the expulsions of sonic flame courted by just as inflamed vocals is pure mesmerism.
The release closes with the acoustic led revelry of They Say, a track part folk quick step and part funk induced devilry which with its layers of blues tempting and classical hued keys, ensures the EP leaves on richly lingering persuasion. The diverse two prong enticing of vocals is just as unpredictable and thrilling as the sounds around them and leave their and the band’s infection deep rooted and burning in appetite and emotions.
The Pride EP is a gem of an encounter from a band which manages to turn recognisable essences and spices into something unique and impossibly addictive. Quite simply Sperø and their sound is a hex on the ears and quite irresistible.
The Pride EP is available now https://speroband.bandcamp.com/
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