WE REVIEW THE NEW DOUBLE SINGLE FROM SPANGLED – UNDERPANTS/CHARLIE HILLS
Where many indie bands faulter by exhibiting a brand of confidence that so swiftly becomes an onslaught of excruciating arrogance, Manchester’s Spangled differ by being a pleasantly grounded bunch. You can tell by the way they advertise their gigs – ‘it’s gonna be smashing and banging and all round gud’ – they claim of their upcoming tour on social media. How wholesome.
Conversely, their new single ‘Charlie Hills’ is less wholesome; its frenetic rhythm section vivaciously pounds in a way rarely heard since the height of mid-2000s dance-punk. It’s a welcome return to an aesthetic that the 2010s smothered with warmer production and often soulless mixing.
And with UK indie music on occasion accused of stagnation, hearing Spangled delve into a wilder and more ambitious sound, at least comparative to many of their contemporaries, is welcome. Falsetto vocals punctuate the chorus with entertainingly comedic inflections – ‘gimme a siiiiggne’ is sung with a gloriously goofy passion that avoids any temptation to be irritating (which is a fine line, you’d be surprised).
Second single ‘Underpants’ is completely different – as announced by a Monty Python sample in the opening moments. Admirably varied bands are unfortunately susceptible to inconsistency and ‘Underpants’ represents inconsistency’s apotheosis. A tight rhythm section is replaced by haphazard guitars that fumble alongside a group-sung chorus that would make nostalgic Sweet fans proud.
Yet in some ways, it’s encouraging that Spangled’s music is this capricious. They appear volatile but this uncontrollability is grand and chaotic – everything indie should be.