The Splendid End - Demonstration Suite 
The Splendid End - Demonstration Suite

Well this is a bit different. I mean, it's not groundbreaking but Minneapolis band The Splendid End are certainly drawing on some references that I haven't heard in music for a little while. Opening track 'Whine', for example, sounds like a slowed down Blondie or Belly having a go at a woozy ballad while 'Grey' is part Pixies and part Velvet Underground from the brooding bass line to the lazy drums. By the time we wash up on 'Holkham Beach' to the sound of a gentle piano lullaby the likes of Tennis spring to mind as Amy Buchanan's sweet voice drifts over the salty air only to be drowned out by some triumphant and uplifting guitars a la Iggy and the Stooges.

I'm intrigued by the song 'Falmouth Princess' seeing as I live quite close to the original Cornish fishing town but before long the acoustic punk of 'Part Two' takes over and there is no let up. The minds of Albarn and Coxon could easily have concocted 'Saturated' while 'Afterafew' and 'I Can't Promise A Thing' show signs of garage and shoe-gaze influences respectively. There are thirteen tracks on this album and each one feels individual and well thought out which is so wonderfully refreshing that it is worth making a note of. 'Add Alcohol', which features the simple but effective lyric of "Add alcohol and watch things fall apart" is a mess of percussion and layer upon layer of organs, guitars and vocal harmonies. The Blondie references are there for all to hear on 'Gone Wrong' and 'Adult Entertainment' but there is a real 70s feel to the moods created that drift from punk to psyche to juddery rock'n'roll. The final pair of tunes starts with the bone rattling drumming of 'Make Up, Break Up' and ends with 'Dear Baby', a song which is a Veruca Salt sized set closer that can only finish in a whirlwind of distortion and cymbals. This is a truly original sounding album with a melting pot of influences behind it that most people would agree is tantalising. I wholeheartedly recommend giving this a few listens to get the most out of it.

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