Album Review: Spring Offensive – ‘Young Animal Hearts’

SO_YAH_webThere’s a good chance you’re looking at this thinking, who the bloody hell are this Spring Offensive then? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, but you should be. Remember when Foals were just some band from Oxford who nobody had ever heard of? Well there must be something in the water over there because they’ve done it again. Spring Offensive’s ‘Young Animal Hearts’ is one of the most promising debut albums since Antidotes blew our minds all those years ago (although if a comparison is to be drawn it plays more like follow up album ‘Total Life Forever’).

After eight years of struggling with labels and money, off the back of a successful pledge campaign the quintet has finally released the debut their small but dedicated following have been longing for. This lengthy process results in an exceptionally well thought out and meticulously tweaked record culminating in a masterpiece of intelligent, original and wonderfully emotive song-writing. To find an album, particularly a debut, which plays from start to finish without so much as a weak track is truly a rarity but with their driving rhythms, pitch-perfect harmonies and wide scope of musical talent Spring Offensive deliver each song with the confidence and quality of a much more experienced band.

One of the most prolific and elusive talents in Spring Offensive’s arsenal lies in their ability to paint a vivid, impassioned picture through their music. This is a talent showcased perfectly by opener ‘Not Drowning But Waving’ which, based on the work of 50s poet Stevie Smith, tells the moving story of a couple’s struggle with the guilt of a death on their conscience. While admittedly a bleak tale, this is a track which fully displays the potential of music to evoke powerful emotion, a tool effortlessly and masterfully wielded by Spring Offensive. This unusual take on modern song-writing is a trait common to Spring Offensive, a band who aren’t afraid to think outside the box something further exemplified by Scandianvian urban-legend based ‘Hengelo’. In more relatable topics, standout tracks ‘No Assets’ and ‘The River’ reflect day-to-day struggles with money, society and the bitter swells of heartbreak. Covering everything from the mundane to the fantastical, from devastating to uplifting; Spring Offensive present a complete understanding and beautiful portrayal of any subject matter which takes their fancy.

For truly diehard fans who followed the band through the development of this album, one small disappointment lies in the slight lack of completely brand new material but rather a reworking of already perfect previously released or previewed tracks. Because of the nature of its pledged release this is a completely understandable and unavoidable flaw in what is a sensational debut from a band who couldn’t deserve it more.  So if there’s one new band you listen to today, let it be this one.


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