Album Review: The Spitfires – “Year Zero”
Third album from Watford’s answer to The Jam, and it seems some sort of sonic progress is in order which is always good. When The Spitfires first emerged blinking into the sunlight in 2014, the music press heralded them as being at the head of a new mod revival, only for no bands to really follow in the gap behind them. However, they’ve kept diligently plugging away in the intervening four years and Year Zero is another solid effort.
The main development here appears to be a newfound love of ska from Billy Sullivan and Co, as evidenced on driving opener Remains The Same. Cut from similar cloth, the piano plink of Over And Over Again is reminiscent of Madness, while the gloomy Something Worth Fighting For and Dreamland are distant cousins of the Specials’ Ghost Town.
That isn’t the be-all and end-all of it though, as the swirling keys on call-to-arms Frontline remind me of The Stranglers weirdly, although the message of “The cracks in our society are starting to show and where we go from here I don’t know” show that the political fire that fuelled a lot of the best songs on the first two albums has only heightened in the years since Brexit and Trump.
It’s not all plain sailing – the piano-led ballad of By My Side is a brave effort to try something different, but ends up sounding more like the Beautiful South than anything else, while some of the later songs such as Move On and Sick of Hanging Around come across as a bit anonymous, although the furious New Age which follows them might just be the strongest track on here. Not quite all killer no filler, but at least Year Zero is a solid addition to The Spitfires’ catalogue.
A solid effort from The Spitfires which should keep those who enjoyed their first two albums happy, although I'm not sure how many new converts it's going to win them. Propelled through by its sheer conviction, this is at least the sound of a band with a good amount of fire in the tank, even if they don't quite hit the bullseye every time.