There’s a little something for everyone in Sprïng, the pop band sprung from the ashes of post-hardcore spazz-punkers SSRIs. Stripping away their former title’s keyboard slamming and shreddy guitar noise, what’s left is a complicated and ridiculously intricate ode to a hundred different musical styles and tastes. Fittingly, their debut record is called Celebrations.
The thing that Celebrations does so well is act as an almost manically calculated mash-up of ’60s psych, British Invasion pop, experimental jazz and prog. It’s not just that there’s something in there for everyone, but that non-niche enthusiasts will actively start changing their minds half-way through their first listen on why they thought they didn’t like prog-rock, that makes this album pop so vividly. More than anything, Celebrations is smart, combining all of these varied musical influences in ways that compliment and inform each other: gone are the SSRI’s talent for dissonance and disassociation.
A comprehensive knowledge of Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles isn’t necessary to enjoy Sprïng—but it certainly wouldn’t hurt, either. That music nerds will find something referential in each of the eleven tracks is an important part of what makes Celebrations soar, but that each wild ballad will appeal to even casual pop fans is an equally, if not more important, facet of what makes these songs stand out.
The comparatively lush, tightly-orchestrated “Paradise” sounds like a mellow riff on any hazy track by The Who, and by itself sets the contrast between the competing ideas of the record perfectly. Even as one of the slowest songs on the album, its rich guitar structure and mesmerizingly-inconsistent tempo make for an interesting dynamic to examine. Frontman Joseph Hirabayashi’s uniquely tempered singing is borrowed from another of his past projects, Aunts & Uncles, and marks perhaps the most important difference between Sprïng and their older SSRIs project, where Hirabayashi’s yowl would get lost in sharp yelling and frantic shouting.
Is Celebrations a pop album for people who don’t like pop music, or a rabid amalgamation of musical ideas mixed perfectly to appeal to pop enthusiasts? The only reason not to get excited about Sprïng’s phenomenal debut is if you find the idea of meticulously hard-working artists a little too antisceptic. Celebrations is a calculated, almost scientifically-targeted piece of music, and that educated approach to guitar-based rock can sometimes take away from the gravitas of a piece—particularly in “In The Morning”‘s beautiful crescendos. Sometimes, it would have been nice to see the quartet behind Sprïng let themselves go beyond their own ability to reel themselves back in, but it’s a pretty good sign of well-crafted compositions when the audience is left hurting for more.