ALBUM OF THE WEEK
At long last Sprints, the garage punk four-piece from Dublin known for their explosive live performances and cutting ‘pub chat’ lyricism, are here with their debut album. Confrontational, ferocious and bold, Letter to Self melds their trademark gut-winding guitar riffs with a studio depth and rigour which both delivers and expands upon the potential they’ve displayed for some time.
Writing the album as “an exploration of pain, passion, and perseverance” vocalist and guitarist Karla Chubb here maps the debilitating physical and psychological processes and symptoms of mental illness. Lyrical vulnerability is pushed to a dizzying degree but not an ounce of it is met sonically. With white-knuckled ferocity, drums and bass take on the album’s foundational heartbeat pushing an unrelenting drive to cathartic release. Not a single track admits surrender, the instrumentation unfurls with unwavering intensity confronting the pain and anguish of the narrative arc in a defiant call to arms.
It’s not always easy for bands with fearsome live reputations to translate their fevered energy to record. The temptation to pin down the slippery beast that is all-encompassing onstage often leaves more to be desired when chased in the studio. But with an uncompromised musical maturity, Sprints instead push the limits of rhythm to deliver skilled manipulations of conventional song structures. Tracks like ‘Shaking their Hands’, the already-released ‘Adore, Adore, Adore’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough Of It’ flaunt a slick culmination of skilled musicianship that leaves us with an unaffected and exhilarating debut album.