Sinking into the familiar can be so rewarding. The pace of life in the digital age puts a premium on the new, of celebrating sudden pivots that eventually lead to more pivots, until everyone involved is just dizzy. Perhaps this comes colored from working primarily in the media industry — which pinballs from idea to idea, but will all lanes leading to a big open grave — but at some point consistency feels a whole lot more inviting than it once did.
For the past decade, that has been the appeal of Spangle Call Lilli Line, a band that puts out albums offering up minor changes to an otherwise locked-in formula. One release might be a little more electronic, another featuring a few more violins. But the main sonic DNA remains intact — this is mid-to-up-tempo rock designed for dusk strolls, when complicated feelings brew and heads swirl with thoughts. Even faster highlights work wonders for self reflection. Newest album Dreams Never End only continues this tradition, and once again I find myself listening to a set of songs right in the Spangle Call Lilli Line sweet spot, both wanting to throw my hands up at trying to find a new angle to old approaches, and just go walk around a park for an hour with these songs going by.
Opener “Red,” like other Spangle Call lead-offs from over the years, serves as a right foot forward. It is one of Dreams Never End’s swiftest inclusions, starting as a jog before eventually approaching a sprint, but it never feels in a rush. Thanks, as usual, the vocals of Kana Otsubo, which keep up but come out like half sigh, capturing the ennui always lurking. The band’s lyrics have usually leaned towards the poetic than the specific, but it works as a way of setting mood rather than place (that, maybe, is up to you). And right at the center, a nice hook. It’s a familiar intro to a familiar set from one of the best at making that feel so good. Listen above.