Part of the beauty of music is that it can be experimented and toyed with as far as your ability can take you, and sometimes even beyond that. Some of the most exciting recent releases have been those that have used this idea to harken back to older styles. In the last few years, the grunge-y tones of the 90s have come back in style, but what happens when the boundaries are pushed on something a little older?
Liverpool art-rock trio SPQR challenge modern music on their debut EP ‘The House That Doubt Built’, a sprawling exploration of emotion propped up by the sounds of 70s rock. The band succinctly combine the psychedelic with the grounded, producing disjointed melodies that reflect the vulnerability and openness of the lyrics.
The EP opens with ‘Or So I Say’, a five-minute journey with bumpy verses that throw the listener around before holding them down with a powerful chorus. From there, ‘Suffer’ plods along with a punk sensibility before ‘Life Would Be Easy’ offers a more structured, by the numbers approach. ‘Whatever Weather’ is perhaps the most forgettable track on the EP, but still carries the ‘Styx on ecstasy’ styling we’ve grown a little more familiar with.
The vocal performance of Paul Harrison is the most addictive feature of the EP. Hearing him display his full range across each song is impressive, all while utilising a loud/soft dynamic. As displayed on final track, ‘Dystopia’, Harrison guides us through a romantic lament, set to the sound of a melancholy piano melody and fading out to the relaxing tick of a clock. It really is the EP’s crowning jewel.
‘The House That Doubt Built is by no means an easy listen. It’s mercurial in its jumps between the melodic and the frenetic, and it’s introspective to an almost uncomfortable level. However, it’s one of the most impressive and promising debuts to come out in the last year.
‘The House That Doubt Built’ EP by SPQR is out now on Loner Noise Records.
Words by Ben Mills(@BenMills28)