Backseat Lovers - Waiting To Spill (Polydor)

Backseat Lovers – Waiting To Spill (Polydor)

Having self-released their debut, When We Were Friends in 2019, the Utah Backseat Lovers four-piece return. Now signed to Polydor, their profile has grown considerably, with sold-out tours and millions of streams on those services, based on one album. No mean feat.

This album is something of a slow burner, and I must admit to having struggled with it at first. It’s had a gestation period of over two years, and given that for many of us under 75 those have been the two most unsettled years we have ever known that’s hardly surprising.

There’s evidence of classic indie-rock informing the songwriting here, particularly on the album’s great first single ‘Growing/Dying.’ It’s clear that they’re from North America – there’s a whole realm of North American indie/alternative bands from over forty years I could name as likely having been a reference here – and as always, the trick is to produce something new with all of that. How much of this is really new I don’t know, but it’s interesting to listen to where they go to.

What particularly appeals here is the dreamy quality of it all. Not so much in a shoegazing kind of way, but in a way that makes me imagine huge widescreen skies in the summer (admittedly a complete fantasy of the American south-west from someone who has never got further west than New Jersey and lives in Scotland). The bookends of the record ‘Silhouette‘ and ‘Viciously Lonely‘ are great examples of this, and certainly working with producer David Greenbaum has been good for the band. ‘Silhouette‘ with its running time of over six minutes, and gentle acoustic guitars and effects seemingly achieved by using the car more than any track since ‘Autobahn‘ is definitely worth listening to.

On balance, this is a steady album. It’s not the amazing record it might like to think it is, but the more I play it, I start to enjoy the contents a whole lot more. Of course, the issue is whether those listeners who need instant gratification will be hooked in quicker, which may also depend on how much US indie-rock they have listened to. More telling will be how I (and others) feel about it six months down the line. Give it a listen, sure, but the test will be how willing to invest attention over a period of time is for listeners. I hope that their third album is the one that truly is the one that this threatens to be.


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