There’s a contagious anger that seems to permeate through Dublin’s far-reaching scene, from Fontaines DC’s spearheading despondency to Gilla Band’s visceral noise and Pillow Queens’ melodic breakdowns of religion and sexuality. It’s a clear indication of people and place, rising through a city that at once pushes down and celebrates the underdog in an ongoing battle between creative expression and political anguish. Paired with Sprints vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Karla Chubb’s transient upbringing and sexuality, that anger is pushed to boiling point.
The four-piece’s debut veers from the densely claustrophobic ‘Ticking’ through the showstopping ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ to the rousing catharsis of the closing title track, all the while embodying the unsettling thrill of an unhinged horror film. It unfolds at pace, driving Karla’s frustrated musings on expectation and identity, underpinned by a sound inspired by atypical stalwarts PJ Harvey and Savages, and produced by Gilla Band bassist Daniel Fox (who brilliantly captures the band’s live ferocity). Amid the whirlwind, Karla disingenuously apologises to her parents for her sexuality, declares her existence a living nightmare, and audibly breaks down into tears, cementing a record that, far beyond storytelling, acts as an outlet for deep-rooted exasperation. That anger lifts slightly with each scream and every riff, driven by post-punk that goes light on the post and opts for the occasional welcome sidestep. It’s musical exorcism at its very best, rallying against socially-imposed doubt and anxiety and - in its unique horror - finding welcome moments of inner peace.