With Superheaven on hiatus, it’s pleasing to see guitarist/vocalist Jake Clarke further refining his shoegaze/grunge sound on this entertaining split with up-and-coming Wilkes-Barre dreampunks Spur.
It’s a nicely balanced split album too. At 11 songs long, there’s sufficient material to get stuck into both acts, leaving in you in no doubt about the quality of direction of each band.
Clarke kicks things off with the woozy and driving ‘Get It Together’. A potent call arms, it’s armed with some insidious hooks and a killer chorus that will win over even the most reticent of Superheaven fans desperate for another ‘Jar’.
Contributing six songs, Clarke’s half of the split is frequently top-notch, awash with textures and half-buried melodies. It sounds great too; a sombre guitar line on ‘Yellow Gown’ is haunting and powerful, while ‘Falling’ nails the quiet/loud/quiet dynamic with style. You can blame Superheaven for helping to propagate the emo/grunge/shoegaze sound that has become somewhat passé, but Clarke remains one of the masters of it, and even here the style sounds fresh and exciting.
Spur are entirely different proposition, switching between traditional indie-punk and dreamy noise pop, they charge through their five songs like feral dogs, ripping into the outstanding one-two of ‘Out of View’ and ‘Fire’ and never relenting. There’s a strong message behind the songs too. “I exist, but it’s not for you,“ blasts vocalist Toni Pennello on ‘Freeze’, marrying pointed social comment with rousing punk rock to make a striking and powerful impression.
Spur close things out with ‘Moon’, a moody piano-driven ballad with Pennello’s astonishing vocals pushed right to the fore. It’s a great change of pace and striking conclusion to a smart and engaging split. Expect to hear a lot more from both Clarke and Spur throughout 2017.
’Split’ by Jake Clarke and Spur is out now on Disposition Collective.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)