Release Date: Jun 10, 2016
Record label: Island
Drummer Tarek Musa’s Spring King project took off when the four-piece was the first band played on Apple’s Beats 1. Pop sheep in punky wolf clothing, they’re ideally positioned for a channel posing as alternative but planning to be mainstream. Lyrically this debut isn’t the most sophisticated, ticking off key stage 1 rock themes of nights, cities, darkness and escape.
Spring King have come a long way from bathroom studios, shower gel wrestling for space with hi-hats. In the last twelve months, they’ve experienced a Hollywood big break - a Leicester City-style story of hard-working musicians getting the recognition they deserve, minus Jamie Vardy and the WKD. Debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ possesses the same breakneck speed spirit of their first steps.
Manchester-based four-piece Spring King should consider a change of scenery soon. While the UK is revered for the music it breeds, especially around Manchester, Spring King’s raucous brand of rock ‘n’ roll recalls some of the best bands to come out of the grimy Detroit rock city scene of yore. On their debut album Tell Me If You Like To, Spring King have put together an ageless collection of rollicking guitar licks and chaotic drum tempos, making for an album that is equal parts MC5 as it is FIDLAR.
A year ago, Spring King were just another indie band slaving away on the toilet circuit, relentlessly working at making a name for themselves. Then, out of nowhere, came a whole load of hype and, subsequently, pressure. Zane Lowe made the exuberant bounce of their track City the first song ever to be played on Apple’s global radio station, Beats 1, and the world’s eyes stared Manchester-wards.
Here’s another album to suggest that sparky, spiky British indie bands are finding a way to pull themselves out of the landfill, even if it’s still the landfill that offers the greatest commercial rewards. This Mancunian quartet’s stock in trade is a racket pitched somewhere between post-punk and garage rock, with guitars subjected to delicious amounts of distortion. That’s down to their leader Tarek Musa, a producer who has spoken of being obsessed with “anything over the top and used in excess amounts”.
On 30 June last year, Zane Lowe launched Apple’s hotly anticipated Beats 1 Radio, and it was a moment that had the entire music community tuned in. As a result of the sheer amount of people that were listening, the song that he chose to begin the new era with would also reach a maximised potential audience. Lowe deserves a lot of credit, then, as he used the opportunity to kickstart the career of unsigned Mancunian smalltimers Spring King, by inaugurating the station with their track “City”.
When they first toured in summer 2013, [a]Spring King[/a] schlepped around in founding member Tarek Musa’s mum’s Honda, ate packed lunches and relied on T-shirt sales for petrol money. They were a ramshackle DIY band with ramshackle DIY songs; Musa, the Manchester band’s singer, drummer and producer, recorded their rough and ready early singles at home – guitars and vocals in an old sewing room, drums in the bathroom. One of their best is the clattering 2015 release ‘City’, which Zane Lowe beamed into 100 countries last June as the landmark first track played on Apple’s Beats 1 radio service.