Through their first two albums, it is fair to say that The Spitfires have established themselves as one of the UK’s most enticing emerging bands. Both variously acclaimed releases lured potent attention to the band’s weave of punk, dub, and ska spiced rock, a sound growing by the record to embrace plenty more flavouring and now a fresh captivation within new encounter Year Zero. Their third full-length is the Watford quartet at their most imaginative, bold, and accomplished yet; a release which fuses energetic revelry and melodic enticement with lyrical sharpness.
From our first encounter with debut album Response in 2015, we like most have been unable to avoid offering up comparisons to the early exploits of The Jam, that continuing with its successor A Thousand Times the following year. Again there are times Year Zero embraces that open inspiration as well as essences for us which remind of bands such as Purple Hearts and The Cortinas. They are hues though which add colour to The Spitfires’ increasing individuality which is in rich bloom across the latest inescapable lure of an album.
Remains The Same opens up the release, its initial keyboard tempting thick intimation leading to the track’s spirited heart and web of hooks and lures. Punk and ska entangle as the song bounces along with varying urgency, the lead vocal prowess of guitarist Billy Sullivan for company with his potent tones as ably and infectiously backed by those of bassist Sam Long. The fresh addition of trombone adds to the adventure, its flames adding to the rousing roar inciting ears and attention in swift order.
The outstanding start continues with Front Line, bass and guitars immediately casting their contagious enterprise over ears as the crisp beats of Matt Johnson land and the keys of George Moorhouse flirt. Long’s bass pulsates with an earthy lilt within the virulence as Sullivan’s vocals once again easily entice. As with its predecessor, there is familiarity and catchiness to the song which grabs body and appetite but coming with an individuality which in turn switches on the imagination.
Next up Over And Over Again just as quickly and skilfully has the body bouncing and listener participation enrolled, its indie meets a Madness-esque scent joyous incitement becoming bigger, bolder, and more involving by the second. Contagion comes in various designs and strengths, the track pretty much one unstoppable infestation of energy and creative invention as too in its own unique style is Something Worth Fighting For. Swinging along on with a reggae nurtured gait as currents of dub bred enticement shimmer, the track effortlessly got under the skin in moments only increasing its hold as vocal, melodic virulence, and the band’s united craft colluded.
Further into the album you go greater adventure rewards, the following By My Side an enthralling piano led ballad with the guest vocals of Emily Capell pure radiance within the song’s own creative glow while Move On is a compelling dub lined brew of magnetism akin to Ruts and The Redskins meets Dub Pistols.
There is no avoiding giving a strong hint of next up Sick Of Hanging Around by comparing it to Paul Weller and co but again though it is a track which foremost is The Spitfires alone; the spicy blasts of trombone and the suggestive caress of keys a big part in ensuring its individual character in sound and imagination is forefront. As strong as its presence and the enjoyment felt is, the track is quickly and firmly eclipsed by The New Age. A boisterous punk and indie pop bred stroll with a power pop lining and dub ska underbelly, the outstanding track is glorious a call to feet, energy, and to arms.
The final pair of the album’s title track and Dreamland completes the release; the first unveiling a Ruts DC like saunter enveloping the senses like a celestial sunspot and its successor with the same infectious seduction in many ways echoing its title, a luminous melodic trespass on the state of society today.
More impressive and addictive by the listen, Year Zero is the coming of age of The Spitfires’ song writing and sound but with still plenty more to offer and explore in its evolution ahead. The world might be spiralling out of control but it is inspiring some striking reactions as this.
Year Zero is out now through Hatch Records; available @ https://thespitfires.tmstor.es/and most online stores.
Upcoming Live Dates:
Fri 05 Oct – Southend, Chinnerys
Sat 06 Oct – Norwich, Arts Centre
Fri 02 Nov – Dover, Booking Hall
Sat 03 Nov – Brighton, Patterns
Fri 09 Nov – Leamington Spa, Zephyr Lounge
Sat 10 Nov – London, Islington Assembly Hall
Thu 15 Nov – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
Fri 16 Nov – Glasgow, Broadcast
Sat 17 Nov – Edinburgh, Mash House
Fri 23 Nov – Bristol, Fiddlers
Sat 24 Nov – Exeter, Cavern
Thu 29 Nov – Newcastle, Cluny
Fri 30 Nov – Carlisle, Old Fire Station
Fri 07 Dec – Leeds, Hi Fi Club
Sat 08 Dec – Northampton, Roadmender
Pete RingMaster 02/08/2018
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