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Straight-Ahead Goodness: Spangle Call Lilli Line’s New Season EP

Dear Spangle Call Lilli Line,

I’ve never actually written anything negative about you guys, and honestly think everything you’ve released up to this point sounded pretty good. Still, I write to you today apologetically, a metaphorical olive branch extended towards your general direction.

Last year, one of your band’s members released a solo album called Woolgathering under the name Nini Tounuma, and it was incredible. She made a spaced-out pop album that sorta imagines what would happen if Flying Lotus decided to produce The-Dream…or maybe the other way around. It’s an excellent album that remains deeply rewarding a year since it was released. Thing is, while glowing about Woolgathering, I inadvertently painted Spangle Call Lilli Line as something not as interesting, borderline pedestrian. Sure, whenever I caught myself doing that I’d write something weak like “they sound perfectly OK” but immediately going back to pray at the altar of Nini Tounuma. Unintentionally, I turned you into an afterthought.

Yet now I come to clean the slate, because listening to your New Season EP has reminded me that Spangle Call Lilli Line is just as excellent as Nini, just in a different way. Woolgathering blurred various genre lines without giving up a pop sensibility, while this recently released EP is just a simply great collection of uncomplicated rock songs. There are a few touches that actually remind me of Nini – the way the vocals on opener Seventeen multiply and then bounce off one another at one point – but this is mostly just fast rock played without many distractions. You guys deserve credit for putting together one of the strongest opening trios of songs I’ve heard on any album this year; “Seventeen” just rockets out and sets the tone of New Season perfectly, and then jumps into EP highlight “For Rio.” Then you round it out with “Summer’s End.” The rest of the EP has good moments, but that initial salvo is so excellent it kind of blocks out the rest.

So yeah…sorry about the past. You guys are really good when you are experimenting alone or blasting ahead together.