Let’s get this part of the review out of the way: Spooled Up’s EP Strange World is very, very good. It’s a tableau of punky riffs and fuzzed out licks smelted into a rather oblique obelisk. The strength and anger of each song ebbs and flows, as does a general presence of lackadaisical positivity. The EP’s opener, “Landmine”, begins as a so many surf garage anthems have, but takes a hard left turn into a sluggish thrum.
If you were pressed to select an overarching theme of the album, it would be a proclivity towards quick and successive twists in the energies of each song. The resulting pace across the album, much like time itself, is relative. Songs speed up, slow down, turn around, dissolve and resorb themselves. The one thing Spooled Up would never seem to lack is your attention.
The EP, in sum, feels like a melange of ideas; a stew as opposed to a smoothie. It’s a road map, full of different back routes and highways, a thousand different paths that Spooled Up could take for their next output. Is this a bad thing? Not at all. But these are not smooth edges, blurred seamlessly together. They’re jagged, with terrain changing fast and without notice. As a listener, you learn fast to watch the road for these unannounced shifts, and quickly begin to enjoy their sudden appearances; the weird and wonky roadside attractions sprinkling your drive.
But really, you’re not driving at all. The band is aptly named, with enough dynamism to carry them through as they unravel and shift gears. Spooled Up have made good on the promises of their singles, offering an electric release that overflows with a vast collection of ideas and offerings. It’s my personal recommendation to recline your seat, relax, and see where they take you.
Strange World is out now digitally + on cassette via Crafted Sounds.