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Tuesday, 23 June 2020

The Spitfires 'Life Worth Living' a review...

 If you're sussed and you're into your music you'll know The Spitfires have been on the scene since 2012 and have been fighting the good fight against the over-diluted, talentless UK music industry that seems to give anyone 'marketable' a 3 album deal... They're one of the most hardworking bands I've ever known (and I know a lot of bands) they would gig 7 days a week if it was possible! Since those hazy days of 2012 they have released 3 albums and several singles, toured relentlessly and gained a loyal following, oh and signed to Acid Jazz which is a label sure to fit the hardworking mould of The Spitfires. June 19th 2020 sees the release of the lads fourth LP, "Life Worth Living" and we've been lucky enough to hear it before release, here's the Move On Up view...


1. Start All Over Again


Atmospheric, Hollywood-esque  harp strings open the first few seconds before drums and guitar push into the next few bars and you know you're listening to a Spits record. Its loud, in yer face and a calling card for the industry, listen up... The first verse is hard-hitting and puts its message across with such force and ferocity that it would make the biggest shithouse execs sit up straight in their leather arm chairs. The brass is worked perfectly into the structure of the tune, "If things will not change, start all over again!, Yesterday's heroes agree to keep their heads down, quietly counting all their dollars and pounds!..." it's huge, it's sending a message, listen up the boys are here they're not fucking about! The song sends a direct address to the industry, stop piling money into these 'has beens' and promote the youth with their fresh ideologies and sounds. It's stomping in 4/4 time throughout and is the type of tune that will go off at live sets. The choruses and harmonies are big and give the feel of a band of brothers who won't stop until they reach the top, "Cos all the boys sing, la la la la..." and that's exactly what this band are! 


2. It Can't Be Done


"I've got nothing to hide, lost my soul, lost my pride..." poignant lyrics to open up the second track, thoughts that sometimes wander through your head when you've had a few! This tune pops, it's got a funky bass entwined with hard suburban edge that drive it to the forefront of your mind when listening. "Time won't be healing, from you I'm stealing any hope that you've shown..." its Sullivan in his purest form, a serious coming of age tune which hits home on so many levels and will resonate with every note that spins off the turntables throughout the land. It's a dark tune which holds light at the end of the tunnel with the simply brilliant vocals and keyboard work which all come to a head to lull the tune to its end. 


3. Life Worth Living


One of the singles released prior to the record and a tune that will bring cumulative delight to the listeners of this LP, I'm sure! Bounding and bouncy, it hits all the senses and you'll immediately realise how good the production is on this tune and on the record as a whole, Simon Dine and the lads have worked wonders on this! It has a real groove and all of the elements contribute perfectly to fill out the song and drive it along. "This was not the plan, these days you only sleep with your right hand..." humorous lyrics which depict a lonely, middle-aged office worker who's thrown himself head first into the rat race forgetting about all the important things in life. The brass on this tune (and record) works wonderfully every time it is used and fills gaps here giving it, its own stage rather than it being used as an extra unnecessary sound. Billy and the lads have pulled it all out the box here and it works, showcasing their extensive sound and the powerful, home-hitting lyrics which send a message whenever they're sang! 


4. Tear This Place Right Down


Another of the pre-record singles and a huge one at that! Guitar, keys, bass, drums and bass come together to form a unified, colossal sound. A sound which sends a warning to the incompetent tory government and highlights all the mistakes they've made and continue to make... It's a chaotic masterpiece which has you stamping your feet to every lyric spat from the mouth of Sullivan in this coming of age glory! "Time to wind up this masquerade, as the money comes in from the guns and grenades..." Billy is one of very few artists in this country who is not afraid to write about topical issues and the state of the country we live in! It fills me with pride to listen to this tune as the band put across messages and issues that many of us feel very strongly about, you wouldn't catch Little Eddy Sheerin doing this would you!? If this song doesn't fill you with working class pride and energy and make you want to start a revolution from your bedroom then  you need to give your swede a shake! A tune that will no doubt unify the fanbase and have us campaigning in the same direction, right on lads!  


5. How Could I Lie To You? 


A heartfelt ballad that swoons you with its stunning structure and production. It highlights Billy at his reflective best and shows the bands diversity of sound and ability to write tunes that will hit you differently. It's from the heart and is real based off a story the band were told about a guy who seemed to have the perfect life but one day committed suicide. It's a poignant reminder that life may not be what it seems and you should be kind no matter what as you don't know what battles people are going through on the daily! Stunning on every level bravo geezers. Just when you think it’s over you're faced with 50 seconds of ska dub which bring the tune to a reflective end a great dark filler to close the track. 


6. Kings & Queens 


The pace is increased with this ska inspired stomper of a tune, opened by a few bars from a Melodica you can once again see the sound repertoire the band have in their locker, which should hopefully push aside the cheap "They sound like The Jam" remarks and the 'guitar band' titles they've been pigeon holed with over the years by lazy reviewers. "Kings & Queens" fills the listener with optimism in all it's dark, grooving glory. "To be kings and queens of this old town" it's illustrating how we should not be weighed down by the shackles of the rat race and not be defined by the work we do during the week, we as people are worth more, rise up! 


7. (Just Won't) Keep Me Down


A hit of the snare and we are off! "Midnight lost souls are set free over bleak terrain..." Billy paints pictures in your head and makes mundane, grey landscapes seem like blank canvases for your ambitions and ideas. That's one thing that hits you about this record, it gives you hope, fills you with working class pride which will manifest in you until there's a creative output, it makes you want to change the world! This tune speaks of the chaos of nights out; the fights, the drunken, disorderly behaviour, the dark, twisting allies which you turn down on your voyage home, its 2020, its Britain pre-lockdown... The Spits have a way of describing the negative sides of life "No more fighting in the night clubs, people now compete, with stabbings on the night bus and shootings in the street..." and making you want to get up and dance to them, whilst doing something to stop those kind of incidents occurring again, voices of a generation stuff!


8. Tower Above Me 


Call and response brass open proceedings and you're lead through a quick, snappy first verse into a chorus that is up there with the best they've ever written. "I don't want to change the world, I just want to prove myself..." inspiring lyrics which make you want to start a revolution. I've played this track over and over again and I always go back to the chorus its destined for the big screen with its cinematic overtones and melodic brilliance. It's Sullivan and co at their sharpest yet! 


9. Have It Your Way 


"Have It Your Way" slows down the pace, emphasising Billy's ever improving vocal, it's clear and sounds bang on point. A story of relationship break up (we've all been there) and a geezers sheer relief at hearing the news because let's just say he's been playing away... Big guitar, brass and vocal harmonies make this tune more of a celebration than the post break up, crying into a pint scenes you see in locals up and down the country. 


10. Make It Through Each Day 


A reflective tune that brings the running themes of the album to a beautiful, melodic end. Sullivan's vocal is again, brilliant and paints a million pictures in your head. Another song I feel which could be used in cinema and short film due to its fantastic production and structure. It's a tune of realisation, new beginnings and big decisions and a fitting way to end an album which I feel is the bands greatest achievement to date! Continue listening after "Make It Through Each Day" ends to hear the Spits at their punchy, powerful best... 


"Life Worth Living" is a huge record which draws on many influences and experiences and hits the listener from every direction. Its social commentary and observation reflects life in 2020 from the eyes of realists and not through the eyes of rose-tinted spectacle wearing music label execs! Buy it here!  



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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger