Spielbergs channel 2000’s emo on “This Is Not The End”

Nicole Moore, Assistant Content Producer

There was a time not too long ago where emo-rock seemingly ruled. From the likes of Japandroids to Modern Baseball, at some point most American teens in the mid to late 2000’s were exposed to the suburban nihilism of the genre. Spielbergs are out to prove that while these teenagers might be wearing suits and ties to their nine to fives now, the emo-rock spirit is not dead.

“This is Not the End” by Spielbergs.

Interestingly, for a genre that has often been associated with the dull routines of suburban America, Spielbergs pull a New Politics (or more topical as of late, a 21 Savage). Despite capturing an unmistakable sound that’d make you think this was just another good mid-2000’s band from New Jersey, the band hails from Scandinavia.

Whether in Scandinavia or the suburbs of Chicago, songs flowing with chugging guitars, crisp snare pops and choruses’ of boyish whoas are timeless and universal. “Distant Star” and “You All Look Like Giants” are house party bangers whose infectious choruses would not get out of my head, all backed up by a rigorous guitar solos and instrumentals.

The band has a vigorous raw sound gives the project character. The drums ring freely in the mix, and the bass has a similar roughness and buzz. Transitions between notes are greeted by ample string noise and a ringing out quality, hammering home a DIY garage band feel.

A share of songs on this project have just as solid structure and sound to them, but eventually the project begins to fizzle. “This is Not the End” is a solid emo rock record, however it doesn’t do enough to match its contemporaries. There are places in the project where I hear similarities to Iron Chic or The Smith Street Band, but Spielbergs never makes me want to sing along in quite the same way as these bands.

“McDonald’s (Please Don’t Fuck Up My Order)” is a moodier track on the album that, despite the zany title, does capture a good sense of emotion in its instrumentals and quiet whispered vocals. The track bridges on noise at some points as the instrumental begins to become increasingly distorted towards the back half of the track. Tracks like this and “Sleeper,” featuring a soft and sweet acoustic riff, offer a good counterpart to the electrified punk tracks on the record.

For better or worse, this album begins to fall apart when the band pushes the envelope on some of the artsy cuts like “Familiar.” A track that, while featuring repetitive yet nice guitar work, is a bit of an oddity in the track listing for its quirks. A shimmering Glockenspiel eases its way in and out of the mix and feels out of place. Similarly, the mix is interrupted towards the end of the track by a different bright synth awkwardly thrown in.    

“This Is Not the End” is at its best when it keeps to no frills, emo inspired garage punk. It’s raw, and lacks polish, however that is what gives the highlights of this project their charm. I’m excited to see what Spielbergs can deliver in the future, even if this debut falters at times.

Rating: 3 out of 5 sails

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