Coming to us from Olso, Norway, Spurv is a melodic post-rock band that create deeply emotional music due in large part to the way the band incorporates rich cello and violin into their sound. Despite being formed two years ago, ‘Blader som faller til jorden og blir til nye trær‘, which roughly translates to “Leaves falling to the ground and become new trees” is their debut EP and was released earlier this year. From what I’ve gathered the EP has been well received by other post-rock outlets so I was eager to put it under the microscope.
The album begins with “Store oyne, men uten gevir” and opens with a fluttering guitar and a bow instrument telling a somber story. Less than a minute into the EP I could immediately tell Spurv is a band that creates finely crafted music with deep emotional connection. The intensity increases as spiraling guitars trend upward with high pitched squeals. The song really hits it’s stride about 4 minutes when a catchy guitar riff layers itself over a clean guitar that is playing a more straight forward post-rock meddling. Spurv does an amazing job at transitioning between their peaks and valleys and this song does not disappoint in the least bit as it makes one final strong push.
The first time I listened to “Gamle årringer” (Old Growth Rings) I felt as though someone had taken my favorite elements of Explosions in the Sky and blended them with everything I love about Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This breathtaking track is everything you could ask for in a post-rock song. It starts from a crawl with spacious bow and guitar work before snowballing into an all out frenzy of distortion guitars and increasingly intense bow work. The true reward this song offers are the intricacies within it that you tend to pick up on after multiple listens. This is the type of track that commands your full attention and with good right too.
“Med enormt håp” completely changes up the EP’s pacing and style with aggressive guitar work and faster tempo than the previous two tracks. While a somewhat repetitive distortion guitar occupies the lower end of the spectrum, traditional spiraling and clean guitars bring flavor and texture to the song. The EP wraps up with “Jeg våknet av en gren” (I awoke from a branch) and is a much different animal than we’ve come to expect from Spurv. While the track still opens with guitar murmurings and their signature bow instruments there is no distortion guitar to be found, as the track features primarily a clean guitar that echos in the distance amidst the rest of the layers. As the intensity builds spiraling crescendo guitars began to form in the background. This is when you realize that the band has essentially reversed their formula. The spiraling guitars are chalked full of distortion and swirl in the background waiting to pounce while high pitched guitars wail away in the front of the mix. Drumming is on point and leads the way as the EP prepares for it’s last stand. And as it marches forward and realizes it’s full potential as the EP comes to a close, you are left with the satisfying feeling that generally accompanies a great ending.
‘Blader som faller til jorden og blir til nye trær’ is a strong contender for my favorite EP of the year. It’s length is just right for an EP chalked full of melodramatic music at the highest possible quality. The level of craftsmanship in Spurv‘s music is simply off the charts and the way the band is able to draw the listener in with their deep thought provoking and emotional music is something that we rarely see from young bands, let alone on debut releases. I have big expectations for these Norway Post-rockers in the future. This is a must listen to EP of 2012. 12-1-12
Available digitally for free via the band’s soundcloud page: http://soundcloud.com/spurv1
Available on CD for about $17 at: http://www.tigernet.no/shop/browsefull.php?aid=14892
Spurv on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Spurvinnen?ref=ts&fref=ts