This Is Not The End


By The Time It Gets Dark, 2019

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


A sort-of Norwegian supergroup, Spielbergs traffic in joyous power-pop with a dash of pop-punk and a melodic warmth that only comes from a band having a good time together. Formed in 2016 and having an EP under their belt, the band powers their full-length debut This Is Not The End along with a grin and a lot of noise, as if it can’t decide whether to go full-bore raw dissonance or sweet power pop and so settled on a hybrid of both.

Previous songs have drawn some comparisons to Foo Fighters, which is fair, and certainly the quiet/loud and sweet/harsh dynamic of other ’90s alt-rock groups is present here. It makes the album sound familiar but not cliché, able to swing from epic buildups (like “NFL,” which stands for Not For Long) to unexpected melodic flourishes (like how “Five On It” goes from guitar feedback to power pop-punk but with a twist in the choruses that grabs the ear). my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Familiar” is a tricky beast, a mashup of Pete Townshend’s clanging power chords from Tommy and the dissonant trebly sound of Sonic Youth…and no percussion until about halfway through. Those two chords chime throughout the entire song as the layers add on and then gradually fade away into a quite cheerful keyboard-and-glockenspiel-driven ending jam. Somehow, Spielbergs make it coalesce into a whole. They then veer full-throttle into the straight punk of “Bad Friend,” as a way to cleanse the palate and prepare for the final third of the disc.

That section starts with the seven-minute mood piece “McDonald’s (Please Don’t Fuck Up My Order),” which evidently is a problem in Norway too. It’s a noisy, melancholy and mostly wordless fuzz jam – when the vocals do come in at the 4:30 mark, they’re barely understandable – and although it boasts a cool sound it doesn’t really go anywhere even with a languid guitar solo. I get what the trio was trying to do, but there’s no push/pull required to make this song work, no build and release of tension as on “NFL” and elsewhere here.

The lovely acoustic “Sleeper” is a welcome change of pace, though, which then leads into another pop-punker in “4 AM” and then the closing “Forevermore,” which chugs along with a self-assurance that feels earned after the sonic journey that preceded it, while blending all sides of the group into a confident whole. But perhaps the clearest mission statement the band offers is “We Are All Going To Die,” which was released as a single and appeared on the EP, but remains suitably noisy and epic while fitting the overall theme here perfectly.

The run of ideas from punk to pop to acoustic to experimental moodiness could be seen as indecisiveness, I suppose, but it never sounds like flailing. It’s a depth that is both rare on a debut and rare among young rock bands, and Spielbergs convey that depth while still rocking out and having a blast. Definitely worth checking out.

Rating: B

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© 2019 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of By The Time It Gets Dark, and is used for informational purposes only.