Track Guide: Wild Spelks – A House Full Of Strangers

Wild Spelks | Photo Credit: Blind Johnny
Photo Credit: Blind Johnny

From starting as merely voice notes, songwriter/musician/producer Jonathon Sabiston has grown Wild Spelks to become an emerging melodic rock act, with a full live band along the way.  Today marks the release of the project’s debut EP – ‘A House Full Of Strangers’.

Taking their name from the pangs of anxiety that dig into Sabiston like a splinter whenever he is feeling panicked, “spelks” is local Newcastle dialect for a splinter. The “wild” prefix is defined by the simple out-of-the-blue timing of the attacks. With Sabiston overseeing the majority of its creation, the Newcastle-based singer-songwriter pairs up a strong mix of introspective lyricism with melodic punk rock. It’s complemented by traces of alt-rock and lo-fi, equally lending the EP bold and gritty elements.

As Jonathon explains in this ‘Track Guide’ feature, ‘A House Full Of Strangers’ sees him reflect on bouts of insomnia and depression. Yet as the closing track, ‘Getting the Band Back Together Again’, shows, Wild Spelks is a celebration of community and the friendships Jonathon has embedded himself in. The EP results in being full of melodically anthemic songs, delivered with an abundance of sincerity.

They’re Gonna Get You

Since writing this track, it has quickly found its place as the opener to our live shows. The duelling opening guitars are one of my favourite moments of the record sonically. Lyrically, it really sets the scene for the EP.

Remember me at 23 when I had good thoughts in my head
I’d fall back into my bed and fall asleep
But all the things I’ve said make me recoil in my bed
At 4AM the waves of dread, they’re gonna get you

This track is a nerve shredder about insomnia, the over-thinking we can all do in the early hours and reminiscing about times when things seemed easier.

Help Myself

I’m really proud of this one. As far as Wild Spelks tracks go, this one has a really dense soundscape. You can hear glockenspiel, acoustic guitar and Hammond organs throughout the track, each taking their turn to come up and down in volume as the arrangement called for. Of course, they’re fighting with the overdriven guitars and drums you’d expect in a track of ours, but the additional instrumentation really brings something new to the table.

Lyrically I really love this one, it’s brutally honest. The most vulnerable I have been, yet! A story of reaching out for help with your own demons.

I’m in trouble how ‘bout you
The writing’s on the wall
I told you secrets late last night
I don’t remember them at all
I think I need some help
But I can’t help myself

Happy & Healthy

On the gritty end of the grit scale for us. Full of fuzz, distortion, hard-panned vocals and shimmering cymbals. Our heaviest track to date, which is really becoming a favourite when we play live. We really enjoy playing this one every time we practice or play a show. That energy fortunately found its way onto the recording, it’s the least polished of the tracks on the EP. Almost every element of the song was the first take recorded and there was minimal mixing done thereafter.

Like this fast blood pumping out my chest
Like this dry mouth the panic I do best
Like you’ve lit the fuse strapped to my back
Like a fast car heading off the track
It’s inelegant but you’ve got to see it

A fast-paced track, with fast-paced lyrics.

Take It From a Friend

This track is quite a departure for us, slightly veering towards Americana as opposed to the comfort of pop-rock. The track has a much broader instrumentation than what we’re used to, featuring trumpets and acoustic guitars alongside the usual distorted guitars and thumping drums. I was lucky enough to have fellow North East singer Joe Ernest Allan from Ernie, join up with a soulful lower octave throughout the verses and gorgeous harmonies in the chorus.

Lyrically, there are themes of depression and helping friends through struggles that resonate with your own. The trumpet parts on the bridge were something I’d wanted to have on a track of ours for a long time and so I’m so glad we managed to get this done. A big thanks to Danny Lester for that.

Getting the Band Back Together Again

The epitome of Wild Spelks, a joyous track about growing up playing in bands, friendship and just making noise in the coldest rooms on Tyneside. You can really hear the inspiration on this one, early Weezer, Dead Milkmen, Frank Black. There’s no hiding from the sickly sweet power pop of the chorus, alongside the rock elements of the verses & bridge.

We were so lucky to have Robyn Walker from Bigfatbig join us on the vocals, for this one. She really brings a shimmering energy to the chorus, which elevates the happy vibes to another level. A rare happy note to end the EP on.

‘ A House Full Of Strangers’ by Wild Spelks is out now.

Find Wild Spelks on: Facebook | X (Formerly Twitter) | Instagram | Bandcamp | Spotify | Apple MusicWebsite


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