Today I had the pleasure of listening to Spielbergs, a three-piece indie rock band from Oslo, Norway. It would appear they have quite the buzz around them, garnering acclaim from many publications. Running All The Way Home contains five, or eight, tracks depending on which version you buy or listen to. I recommend going for the eight-track version, and I’ll give my reasons why in a little bit.
Spielbergs are a very talented group of guys. They know how to craft delicate melodies, catchy riffs, and well-structured tracks. They certainly aren’t afraid to mix it up musically either. It’s quite a crowd-pleasing album due to the mix of styles. While I consider the genre here to be indie rock, there are grunge, pop rock, ambient, indie pop, psychedelic rock and stadium rock influences on display.
There are several highlights on the EP, and title track ‘Running All The Way Home’ is certainly one of them, with lead singer and guitarist Mads Baklien noting:
“‘Running All The Way Home’ is a song about regret. You can’t undo what you’ve done. You can apologise to the people you’ve hurt all you want, you can promise to do better in the future, but it will not fix things. You will just have to wait it out and see what happens.”
‘Running All The Way Home’ is an ideal first impression. It’s a high-energy pop rock track, with a heavy riff during the chorus, and relatable lyrics. The chemistry on display is evident, no instrument feels out of place, and all serve their purposes. I quite like the synth on this track, reminiscent of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’. Like many of the tracks on this release, it’s a perfect blend of gloom and upbeat vibes.
The next few tracks, while solid, aren’t on the same level as the opener. Musically they’re fine, a mix of grunge, punk rock, and indie rock. The distortion on the guitars must have been up to eleven at times, as they’re borderline overpowering. While often fast-paced and quite intense, they just don’t wow me. This might have something to do with the mix, which is a bit muddled and uneven at times. It’s also difficult to hear the lyrics sometimes, because of the low vocals. With a few tweaks, these tracks could be brought up a level.
The second highlight of the release is the slower ambience of ‘The Sum’. This is a sweet, unexpected change of pace, and Spielbergs really shine on these slower tracks. The intro is quite soft—just a pad and melodic guitar until the vocals start. The vocals are quite sparse, but they are among the best on this EP. They are emotional, delicate in nature and sung beautifully. The strings sound like a mellotron, preventing the track from becoming too repetitive. It’s quite a soothing listening experience, almost meditative.
The three bonus tracks on the vinyl release are all excellent and, honestly, could replace one or two from the original tracklist. Two in particular really stand out.
‘Daisy! It’s The New Me’ is by far the most commercially accessible track, with a sub three-minute running time making it perfect single material. It’s half indie rock/half pop which is always a good combo. The chugging bass and fast cymbals really stand out here.
A lot of releases I listen to usually start strong and fizzle out by the end. This release starts strong, then has a few misfires, but gets progressively stronger towards the end. You expect one thing, Spielbergs deliver another. I like that. The final highlight is, indeed, the last track—the best moment on the EP.
‘Setting Sun’ is quite simple melodically. For the most part it’s poppy, but it has almost a country vibe to it. Thematically, I believe it’s about love. Due to the very rough, muddled mixes on previous tracks, it was hard to discern lyrics earlier on the record. This track, however, has the clearest mix, both vocally and musically. The outro is what solidifies this track as my personal favourite on the EP. The guitar solo is very trippy, accompanied by the bass chugging along nicely—a flawless performance.
It was quite an experience listening to this release and Spielbergs are a force to be reckoned with, despite some small flaws. All of that aside, this is an EP you have to listen to.