I've never really been a fan of brit punk rock, or the fashion that came along with it and The Spitfires has not changed my attitude towards it to be honest. I am however an appreciator of hard work, originality and development, or evolving as i've said many times before in these reviews.
Hailing from the great and noble town of Watford, The Spitfires bring us their debut album "Response" 13 tracks of four young men's take on the classic genre of brit punk rock. Influences from the likes of The Clash (obviously), The Jam (of course), The Specials (slightly less obvious) and The Smiths (you get the point). In case my sarcasm wasn't apparent there is not much new about this album.
However, i am bias due to my total apathy and indifference to this style of music, but that is a conversation for another day. So i will be writing this review on the basis of the things that I appreciate in good musicians and/or good music. A) Hard work. B) Originality. C) Evolution. So let's get too it.
A) Hard work.
Lets look at the facts, The band has been around since 2012 and since then have performed over 200 shows including a slot at the Isle of Wight festival earlier this year. They have, as of writing this review, a further 16 headlining shows this year across the country. The three years it has taken them to release the album has obviously been spent working out exactly what their sound is and what kind of band they are. Defining themselves and creating a package, this is something they have succeeded in I feel, there is no doubt about what kind of band this is and what exactly their audience is. The band has also had music of theirs used for advertisements for large companies including Dr. Martens and have been supported by BBC introducing. So in the category of hard work, this band clearly isn't messing around. Top marks.
As much as i appreciate that the band is very much set in their ways with their sound, it does feel very much like its been done before. The saving grace is that they infuse Ska influences into their very clear Brit Punk Rock grounding quite cleverly. the use of horns and keyboards is clear but subtle and doesn't steal the attention. Tracks like "Spoke too soon" do show a bit more depth to the bands songwriting ability and is a welcome change of pace on the album with an almost Coldplay like feel. Despite this there is not much originality in the album, B- for a good effort.
This ties in closely with originality, but for this i'm looking at what they're adding to the world of music, are they to become a major influence for other musicians within the genre, or is it just churning out the same old shit that everyone loves because it puts food on the plate and they can pretend to be rockstars? The Spitfires fall somewhere in the middle of this, though I admire them for not hiding from the fact that they sound very much like their influences, and yes the subtle blends with Ska is to be commended but I don't see their name appearing in future bios for other musicians influences. Those people will reference the exact same bands that they have.
Overall impression, it's a good album and a band to look out for, they will be well known within the genre but have a way to go if they want to be innovators of it. The key to The Spitfires is that the potential is there to be a great modern band.