Watford 4 piece The Spitfires release their third LP, “Year Zero” on Hatch Records on the 27th Of July, a follow up to 2016’s “A Thousand Times” which was released to critical acclaim and ended up Number 6 in the independent charts.
As long term fans of the band, Merc was not only delighted to be sent a copy pre-release, but from first listen highly excited about the album itself.
Year Zero in our opinion further cements the place of The Spitfires as one of this countries most exciting and diverse young acts, who walk the walk, talk the talk and give everything, be it on stage or in the studio.
This is a band who refuse to be categorised, and whose influence from throughout the Subcultures and its music genres resonates in their music.
Year Zero’s tracklisting certainly reflects this with the guitar driven punk feel of album opener “Remains the Same” or the new single “New Age” , the almost Madness 2Tone feel of “Over and over again” with a crowd pleasing Na Na Na Na singalong to the stunning piano led ballad “By My Side” where frontman Billy Sullivan’s vocals are beautifully complemented by guest vocalist Emily Capell.
We are treated to elements of Ska, reggae, pop, new wave, soul and dub. Never afraid to try new things The Spitfire’s are able to “consolidate the bands own highly authentic sound and style into a progressive take for a new generation of fans”.
Year Zero takes the listener on a journey through not only diverse influences that effortlessly compliment each song, but also gives an insight into the thinking of songwriter Billy Sullivan’s views of today’s Society through the eyes of the young working classes, whose voices are so often unheard or ignored.
As the track “Move On” states as a call to arms (with more than a nod musically to The Clash)
“It’s time we make a stand,
cos this generation understands
We can’t survive this way
It’s up to us to say .... Move On”
Fiercely proud of his working class roots and with plenty to say, Billy’s lyrics are always relevant and worth listening to.
Special mention must also go to the band members Sam Long (Bass/Backing Vocals) , Matt Johnson (Drums) and George Moorhouse (Keyboards) whose tight musicianship and energy provide a perfect backdrop for Sullivan’s delivery.
“Sometimes I feel like giving in,
Cos I ain’t earning anything” - Remains the Same.
Crashing guitars and Ska riffs sit along side a rhythm section of drum and bass lines, horns, keyboards and stinging social commentary.
The whole album also serves to give an indication of the raw talent and power The Spitfires possess, a must see live act that never fail to deliver.
Quite simply Year Zero is an album that sits proudly amongst the playlist at Merc Towers, certainly it’s as good as anything else we have heard this year. Packed full of quality, twists and turns, there is not a bad track on it, and it’s hard to pick a favourite tune, but “Something Worth Fighting For” definitely sits amongst their finest work in our opinion.
This is a band who deserve to be playing for and acknowledged by a much bigger audience than the fiercely loyal following they have already built up.
Great British song writing done very, very well, get amongst it!!
Year Zero is available on CD, vinyl and digital formats here https://thespitfires.tmstor.es/
Words by Richie Kyle