#2 Spring Offensive – Young Animal Hearts
The arrival of Spring Offensive’s debut album, Young Animal Hearts was the cause of much celebration here at Alphabet Bands as one of our favourite bands around was finally releasing a full-length record. Sadly, while this much awaited and fantastic album came early in the year, 2014 ended without Spring Offensive in the ranks of active bands. Thankfully they were able to leave us with a brilliant album woven with complex emotional narratives and evocative melodies.
Any album that starts with a song as remarkable as “Not Drowning But Waving” (our song of the year for 2012) is likely to be something special and Young Animal Hearts more than lives up to expectation. There’s deep, undulating darkness courtesy of “The River”, a sneering track of revenge that plays like the build up to combat. Intense and powerful like a lone warrior walking to a final showdown, going mano e mano with heartbreak in a battle that culminates with smiling retribution.
We could easily go through every track and effuse greatly on why each is magnificent in its own right but Young Animal Hearts is so much greater than the sum of its (high value) parts. There is neither a single bum note, not one misstep nor a single drop of oil in this ocean of melody, harmony and wonderfully visual, quick witted, and occasionally dry, lyrics. One of our favourites being from the sublime and swirling “Carrier” that just seems to encapsulate Spring Offensive perfectly, “This morning was spent at my window / It seems to help them in movies / but I hope that their views are less boring”.
There is melancholy, there is hope. There is heartbreak and love, violence and drama, sprawling cinematic narratives and simple day-to-day drudgery. You can sing along to the whole album or just sit back as it embeds itself in your bones, playing your emotions like a violin, rousing a beast within you and then singing it back down to sleep. They are master storytellers and masters of aural stimulation and evocation and creators of our second favourite album of 2014.