Springtime – Springtime

4 out of 5

Label: Joyful Noise

Produced by: Mike Deslandes (recorded and mixed by)

Tropical Fuck Storm guitar and noise assaults with the mood-setting sombre beauty of Dirty Three, grounded by the crunchy drone jazz of The Necks. Sounds… amazing?

And it is: this supergroup of Gareth Liddiard, Chris Abrahams, and Jim White pretty much hits all of the marks mentioned above, adding further dimensionality to each of the members’ other bands: Liddard able to find a more patient, emotive output; White drawing a line back to early Dirty Three freakouts; and Abrahams showing the full spread of his abilities, flipping between spazz jazz freakouts and rhythmic accompaniment. There’s balance within the album as well, alternating between more frantic bursts of rock and poetry – truly, Liddard adapting Irish poet Ian Duhig’s words to song – and delicate slowburns.

There’s a Will Oldham song here (West Palm Beach) that’s a good touchpoint: Liddard’s wavery vocals make for a similar mix of Oldham’s frailty and strength, but then Springtime is able amplify that dichotomy even further, in the way their sound volleys back and forth between pretty plinks of keys and drums and earned unleashings of volume.

…But: I would note that this does sound like a supergroup. Even without knowing each member’s background, the way these tracks are put together makes each one of them an album unto itself. Springtime (the album) does not flow, necessarily; the group somewhat tries different hats on each song, with the familiarity of their individual habits linking things together. Otherwise, though, with every track extending over five minutes – and generally 6 or 7 – it’s truly like everything here was conceived as its own epic. This approach, as would be seen on the Night Raver EP, can lead to indulgence; here Springtime feels motivated by it – by the loose, whatever-may-happen vibe of this collective. And that is exciting.