Spring King, Bullingdon, Oxford 14/5/16
Spring King, who hail from Manchester, are yet another example that the city of swaggering front men and bravado led gumption has grown tired of regaling their stylised patter and is ready to embrace new influences and less systematic points of reference. Although lazily categorised as a post-punk outfit, Spring King fall more into a hybrid pop, rock and punk category with high tempos and unapologetically simplistic, barraging chorus lines and after a successful EP release last year, are all set to deliver their debut album next month.
The four piece are a band beginning to make visible waves in the industry, recently appearing on Jools Holland and regularly featured on Radio One and, if you cherry pick the odd standout track, it’s understandable to see why with their instantly gratifying, easily digestible chorus lines which fly a little too close to mass produced conformity with an unmistakably cheesy odour. There is little that is subtle or nuanced to take away from an evening devoid of any emotive spark and their work lacks the gnawing bite of aggression to give them any punk credibility, leaving Spring King languishing idly in a paddling pool of tepid, nondescript gelatine. As they heavy handedly creak and bawl through their set, one does wonder how and why they have been championed by acclaimed radio DJ’s who should really know better, as there is a mindlessness to it all, a beer swilling, oi oi oi brand of pop punk seemingly more at home being played by sixteen year olds in a disused scout hut than a band touring some of the UK’s finest venues.
There is also a somewhat unavoidable issue with stage presence which is indicative of a band where the lead singer is the drummer but this can be partly rectified by the other band members taking up the helm and giving the audience something to cling on to, a concept lost on the four piece, and as a result the drummer, albeit playing impressively complex drum beats while crowing into the microphone, remains the unwarranted focal point.
Spring King add no originality or diversity to an already done and dusted genre and with so many more pioneering acts currently struggling to scrape together an album deal, it frustrates and infuriates to see them being spoken about in such high esteem. There is just no art to their work to date and it has no sentiment and without that, as fellow Mancunian Morrissey once sang, “The music that they constantly play, it says nothing to me about my life”.