Showing such great strides forward with their sound, Spurv return with their triumphant new album
Once in a while, a band comes along and does something which makes you sit up and say “My Goodness! This is a bit good” or words to that effect. Norwegian Post Rock band Spurv have been steadily making a name for themselves with their cinematic blend of (mostly) instrumental music. The new album Brefjære takes such huge strides forwards, it’s quite a lot to take in at first, I’ll try and explain myself.
The album opens up with a quite staggeringly beautiful “Krokete, rettskaffen” a piece of neo-classical music which sets the tone perfectly. Sporadic drum hits sound like the cracking of an open fire, and with the choral chanting it conjures images of a sacred ritual being performed around a huge bonfire. Elegant and enchanting, this first song shows off the dynamic range of the band quite spectacularly.
Second song “En brennende vogn over jordet” is a complete 180 degree turnaround in change of sound. It’s a more classical Post-Metal sound but saying this is doing the song a disservice. It’s classical in that it uses all of the tropes of the genre but does them in a way which is very interesting. The rise and fall of the music is present and correct but it doesn’t rise and fall when you think it’s going to. Throughout its runtime, it keeps you on your toes as to what’s coming next, the heavy sections are stunning in their brutality whilst the quieter sections are ethereal in their richness. The best thing about this song, and where the true magic comes into play, is that it doesn’t sound out of place coming after the first song, it just seems to fit, no matter the sonic palette they use, it paints the same picture.
Up next is the (by comparison which has come before it) almost traditional post rock stylings of “Som skyer”, but once again, the band are too clever just to say “here is a post rock track”. It’s got subtle layers which come to light and blossom into the most fantastical treasures, almost seeming like they were made just for you to discover. It’s like hitting rich seams of precious metal whilst mining. The interplay and hidden depth on display is really quite something to behold.
The next few songs follow this pattern of unpredictability with often stunning results. I don’t want to ruin the surprises you will encounter by describing them in any great detail, but just to say that there are, again, true gems to be found, such as the pummelling rhythms on display which occur during “Urdråpene” or the glorious ambience and etherial vocals on “Å vente er å endre”.
The album is book ended by yet another stunning visit to that secretive ritual from the first song, which brings the record round in a perfect circle and ties the knot in such a clever way. This is an inventive, captivating release which requires repeat listens and has much to discover along the way, like the most rewarding of travels. It’s something which can be viewed with great fondness and which ultimately brings a smile to your face, which in my opinion, is what music is all about.