Sprints
Letter to Self


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dewinged STAFF
January 10th, 2024 | 24 replies


Release Date: 01/05/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Why walk when you can sprint into 2024?

After amassing a considerable live following during their inception in 2019, the Dublin punk four-piece have finally released their first full length album through German label City Slang. It was about time that Sprints finally tried to encapsulate their incendiary live performances on record, but does this Letter To Self manages to trap their furies into media for home consuming, air guitar secret shows in the kitchen, and recording your drunk uncle dancing tie in head during Christmas dinner for future embarrassment, or even potential blackmailing? Well, yes and almost yes.

A good part of the record was released drop by drop through last year, so their fans could get both satisfied and even thirstier for what was coming. Everyone’s first contact with Sprints will be different but mine was through the video of “Shadow of a Doubt”, just three weeks ago. In the video, guitar ripper and singer Karla Chubb starts picking her guitar timidly under a green light, anxiously singing the first words of the song while the rest of the band members are brought to shape one by one (where have I seen this before?). If you’ve never listened to them, you’d think things are about to go on smoothly transitioning into some deadpan post punk, but at some point, Karla elevates her tone, her nerves wreck and the track explodes into a fervent noise punk anthem. The same formula is applied to the first three tracks with different alterations in intensity or speed, but the structure remains the same at its core. This was slightly grating the first time I put on the album, as I felt that the band was indulging into the same safe method to build their songs, but third track “Cathedral” was the moment I really felt Sprints were unto something. This tune sees them firing on all cylinders with the ferocity of a freight train about to go off rails. Followed by one of the most unique tracks of the album, “Shaking Their Hands”, which is also one of my favorites, the album peaks just before hitting the middle section, and then things just slow down a notch.

The second half of Letter To Self approaches things with a bit less of ambition. “Adore Adore Adore”, which was also released as a single, and “Shadow of a Doubt” manage to keep the momentum going. The production shines here, and the sound of the band has settled in nicely. Pounding guitar tone, a robust rhythm section and Karla achieving a nice balance between cold, warm, and visceral singing. Unfortunately, “Literary Mind” and “A Wreck (A Mess)” don’t have the same immediate factor or spark than songs like “Cathedral” or “Shadow of a Doubt” have. Far from suggesting they are bad songs, what I mean is that Letter to Self doesn’t manage to end at the same level that when it started, and this couple of songs are the first sign. “Up and Comer” is a raging post punk cut in the very same vein of bands like Savages that thrives in its intensity but it goes off too soon to have a lasting effect, and the title track that closes the album doesn’t really deliver a feeling of closure, but instead focuses on making sure that the lyrical theme that runs through the eleven tracks of Sprints’ debut gets through: ““No matter what you're born into, or have experienced, there's a way to emerge from this and be happy within yourself.”

All things considered, it's a good thought for starting 2024, trying to channel the frustration and anger that comes with seeing the last year spilling its woes into this new page of our history like nothing will ever change. But if new music is enough to contribute to that little catharsis, then Letter to Self is undoubtedly a pretty good option to start off this new chapter, and for Sprints it may be even the beginning of something truly special.




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user ratings (57)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whoa, first review of 2024, feels weird and nice.



Good album to start the year, saw it was trending so I thought I'd give it a shot, pardon the rust and the dust.



https://sprintsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/letter-to-self



"Shadow of Doubt"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW7XPRQFIOo&ab_channel=SPRINTS



"Heavy"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1R7hcVwlQE&ab_channel=SPRINTS

Kompys2000
Emeritus
January 10th 2024


9467 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was a riot, the closer and one or two other moments didn't fully land but I daresay you're underrating Up and Comer and Literary Mind, both great little ditties that use repetition well. And yeah Cathedral is an early soty candidate for me, such a banger

MoM
January 10th 2024


5994 Comments


Really liking this! The energy and the fuzz, the guitar and the vocals, whole thing comes together nicely for me. Very fun

DoofDoof
January 10th 2024


15093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's something really good about this...I think things get a tiny bit calculated on the closing run starting with 'Literary Mind' which sound like Fontaines DC a little too much (plus the title is similar to 'Televised Mind' so maybe a conscious tip of the hat). The last four songs do see them running on fumes a bit but nothing too bad at all.



'Cathedral' into 'Shaking Their Hands' shows the best parts of all their sound and is the double highlight for me.

someone
Contributing Reviewer
January 10th 2024


6645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i am disappointed in you Dew. you had the perfect opportunity to say "Why walk when you can sprint into 2024?" and you missed it completely

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fucking hell, I blew it didn't I!?



Oh wait! Someone changed it, we good!

someone
Contributing Reviewer
January 10th 2024


6645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

attaboy

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Couldn't agree more Doof, if they manage to craft such varied songs in the future, they could get smth really great.



Komps, Up and Comer is great, but like I said it kinda blends into the rest and if you're not paying attention it sort of burns fast and it's gone. Literary Mind is maybe my least favorite but it's not a bad track at all.

TheTripP
January 10th 2024


4511 Comments


Oh what is this?

Slex
January 10th 2024


16595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album, love this review, love this dew(i)

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you Slex brother!

markjamie
January 11th 2024


716 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cathedral was the track that really hit me first as well, but I've got to disagree about Literary Mind - it's an absolute banger and the song that justifies the hype for me.

Slex
January 11th 2024


16595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Literary Mind is my favorite of the singles

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2024


10734 Comments


Great review as always, and I need to listen to this one.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're all a bunch of literary minds. No but really, I get it. It's good everyone has different favorites, it certifies the album is good and that there's something for everyone.



And thank you Voivod!

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I gave the rating (and the review rating) a little bump.



Don't tell anybody.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2024


1776 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This shit fucking rocks. Reminds me a lot of the Rid of Me album from last year which was one of my faves. That noisy, grungy style of rock is really up my alley right now.

DoofDoof
January 12th 2024


15093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

‘Literary Mind’ is good but that chorus does make me think of Fontaines DC every time…not that that’s a terrible thing, if you’re going to crib then crib from a good source

markjamie
January 13th 2024


716 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I do live in a town called Crib Point, so appropriate probably... Two great albums in the first two weeks of 2024 (Bill Ryder-Jones). Bodes well.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's plenty more but we only reviewed two. Well Anat also reviewed Gumshoes which is also a fun album worth checking.



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