Liverpool has and always will produce some remarkable bands, its musical landscape and history perpetual inspiration for those to follow. Another with the real potential to become another leading light is SPQR, especially if their new EP is the clue and guide to things to come. Low Sun Long Shadows is a four track parade of the band’s bold art rock nurtured sound, a release uniting unpredictability with imagination in almost mischievous and certainly emotionally empowered adventure.
For the first time, SPQR worked with an outside creative force for their new offering, the trio inking up with producer Margo Broom (The Fat White Family, Calva Louise, Yassassin, Phobophobes). As often is the case, Low Sun Long Shadows sees some of its songs seeded in in the myriad of mental illnesses guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Peter Harrison struggles with; that depth of anxiety and emotion a powerful lining to the rich tapestry of just as dramatic sound.
The EP opens up with Slowly and straight away attention is led astray by the pulsating bassline cast by Jack Sanders. Quickly it is joined by the percussive zeal of Bex Denton and the ear clipping teases of Harrison’s guitar, the latter’s equally magnetic vocals adding to the swiftly gathering temptation which soon had these ears hooked. Hitting its boisterous stride, the song’s eager rock ‘n’ roll in full bounce, persuasion is complete but only intensified by the blossoming of every aspect making up its captivating character. As lively and spirited as it is, melancholy also sweeps across its landscape, unpredictability adding a further shapely lure to a thrilling start to the EP.
As superb as it is, the song is still eclipsed by the noise embracing clamour of Our Mother’s Sons. The track was liquor to our instinctive cravings; a fusion of raw melody and sonic dissonance driven by a just as entangled web of contrasting emotions, though each in the throat of Harrison soaked in their own particular tension and agitation. Keys add another dimension of intrigue and limbo, the track escalating in disquietude and magnetism by the twist before slipping away and letting the EP’s lead single Josephine bring its dance to bear on already enraptured ears. A touch grungy, a little funky, and teasingly indie rock in its animation, the song is an infestation of dextrous catchiness and melodic temptation spread over an array of flavours and elements.
This Gore completes the release, swiftly matching its companions in creative intoxication and individual imagination. Swinging and swerving with a cosmopolitan blend of styles and flavours as rhythms nag and lead song and listener alike, the EP closer simply captivated as Harrisons’ tones explored a Lydon-esque lining to their own personality. Increasingly volatile and inflamed, the track provided a striking end to a simply outstanding encounter.
It is not easy to become a favourite son in one of music’s most influential cities but with more gems like Low Sun Long Shadows and we would not bet against the possibility.
Low Sun Long Shadows is out now via Modern Sky UK.
Pete RingMaster 30/04/2019
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