We generally shy away from reviewing singles at UK Scumscene because in the time it takes you to read the review you could’ve simply listened to the thing. However, we’re making an exception for Svalbard’s ‘Flightless Birds’ because coupled with its b-side ‘For What It’s Worth’ the whole thing clocks in at an impressive nine and a half minutes and what an impressive journey it is.
The title track gives you a brilliant representation of what the band are about with a beautifully layered and dramatic sounding piece of post rock meets post hardcore (yes, there’s going to be a lot of ‘posts’ used in this review). The band are a rather stunning amalgamation of bands like Vales, MINE and Rinoa and deliver intense post hardcore smothered in stark, atmospheric lead-guitar which is then given a moment to shine as the song hits its middle-eight. During the middle-eight the song takes a moment to breathe and delivers a gentle and restrained section which builds and builds before the song is ready to explode once again. This really is spectacular stuff.
The second track ‘For What It’s Worth’ explores some different avenues and is slightly more progressive than ‘Flightless Birds’. The song features the only instance of sung vocals and gives the song a powerful and almost cinematic quality that fits wonderfully into the band’s already varied arsenal. ‘For What It’s Worth’ also decides to use its more fragile section to finish the song and as it carefully comes to a close the whole release feels like it has proper closure which is bizarre for something like a single.
Svalbard have crafted these two songs with exquisite precision and I wouldn’t normally be inclined to call a release like this a single. This release was made to be listened in its entirety and as good as both songs are, they really shine when they’re played together. Svalbard’s ‘Flightless Birds’ is a stunning release and the band themselves are one of the UK’s brightest hopes. Now excuse me while I attempt to purchase everything else the band has produced so far.
Svalbard’s Flightless Birds is released on 7″ vinyl through Tangled Talk Records on October 7th.