As the story goes, some industry insiders saw the Oslo band Spielbergs play a small venue way up north in Trondheim, and they were so blown away by the band’s set that they started a label just to release the power-punk trio’s music. It worked: Spielbergs’ debut EP, Distant Star, premiered inside a Stereogum Band to Watch piece last April. In other words, these three lucky Norwegians got off to pretty much the best start they could have imagined.
It might get even better for them. Come February, Spielbergs’ debut album, This Is Not the End, will arrive on the same label—the UK-based By The Time It Gets Dark, on which Spielbergs is one of two artists—that released Distant Star. “4AM,” its first single, also premiered on Stereogum, so clearly, these guys have some consistent fans in high places.
Rightfully so: “4AM” boasts the sort of riotous, communal spirit that carried more than a few bands to indie stardom at the turn of the decade. Since that time, many bands have copped that sound without really doing anything interesting with it, instead pumping out carbon copies of this mid-to-high-tempo, power-chord-based, chorus-full-of-endorphins, anthem-style rock sound without including the, you know, endorphins. Not Spielbergs: “4AM” is a prime example of how a good ol’ guitar-bass-drums singalong can, when crafted with care, raise the hairs on one’s arms with pretty much no heavy lifting.
Frontman Mads Baklien has a voice that could effortlessly carry crowds of thousands to a shared euphoria, a moment of common bliss that has everyone clamoring after the show about how incredible the night was and how they’ll never forget it. He frequently sounds as though he’s both got it all together and is on the verge of breaking, especially during the chorus of “4AM,” when he sings “It’s 4AM/I feel like giving up” in tandem with a bandmate. With their punk smiles worn this ecstatically, the dudes in Spielbergs instead sound like they plan to keep on truckin’, and their drive is contagious.