SPQR’s ‘Low Sun Long Shadows’ is not the most coherent EP you’ll hear this year, but there are sparks of promise here, as the Liverpool band try to find their feet. Opener ‘Slowly’ starts off as standard math-y, art-rock affair before coming alive in the chorus as drums thunder their way in. All things considered though, ‘Slowly’ lives up to its name, not being an overly electrifying start to the EP.
Fortunately, ‘Our Mother’s Sons’, fairs better as SPQR feel like a different band. On this high-energy punk outing, they sound reminiscent of fellow Liverpudlians Queen Zee. It’s fuzzy, discordant, and genuinely impressive. It’s three minutes of utter carnage, and it works far better than its predecessor. The thrilling finish, complete with near-screamed vocals and punk distortion, is perhaps the stand-out moment on here.
‘Josephine’ is defiant brat-pop with the sort of angst and attitude of classic X-Ray Spex, merged with a healthy dose of brashness and zeal. As entertaining as it may well be, it doesn’t particularly blend well with the rest of the EP.
Nevertheless, the EP ends on a fairly high note. Although ‘This Gore’ is a slow burner, the payoff is worth the wait as we are treated to a rousing, almost symphonic, finish. Peter Harrison’s vocals are made for this sort of thing, matching the intense, foreboding sound of the music.
Falling into the bracket of art-rock is one thing, but when you sound like a different band on every song of your EP, you lack a clear identity. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, their approach may work better on a full album, where sequences of songs have more chance to flow. SPQR have the opportunity to become a very good rock band, but it’s just not coming together just yet. It’s slightly hit and miss but with more experience, SPQR are sure to deliver a more focused set of songs.
‘Low Sun Long Shadows‘ EP by SPQR is released on 26th April on Modern Sky UK.
Words by Adam England (@garageflowrr)