sprints band

If you ever suspected this current wave of Irish guitar music had peaked with the likes of Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital, you should think again. With their impeccable debut album ‘Letter To Self’, Dublin quartet Sprints can place themselves into the conversation, building on what’s been a steady rise through the live circuit, having sold out recent shows at London’s 800-capacity Scala and Dublin’s iconic Button Factory.

Marrying intricate alt-rock with fierce bursts of noise-punk and grunge, the four-piece (comprising vocalist Karla Chubb, guitarist Colm O’Reilly, bassist Sam McCann and drummer Jack Callan) last spoke to NME in the depths of lockdown, itching for the social interaction that intrinsically underpins their music. “It helps being around the energy and the buzz of the city, that’s what inspires most of the songs”, Chubb said at the time.

Yet, for all its moments that will no doubt incite chaos in the live arena, this is a record that unapologetically bares its soul. The opening verse of ‘Cathedral’ – a haunting track that sees Chubb vocalise her anxieties as a queer woman that grew up in the Catholic church – reaches its climax, before a blast of distortion heightens the tension: “Maybe living’s easy / Maybe dying’s the same,” she sings. The sense of catharsis that defines ‘Letter To Self’ is formidable and powerful.

The slow-burning intro of ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ hangs in the darkness for what feels like an eternity, as Chubb comes to terms with her trauma. “Would you help me stop the screams,” she begs, as the track fades into nothingness; the midpoint of the album. A spiralling and queasy guitar line then leads in ‘Can’t Get Enough Of It’ – a mechanical chord progression that’s wholly resemblant of the vicious circle Chubb finds herself locked in: “And I can’t sleep / And I can’t dream / And I can’t sleep / And I can’t leave.”

Yet for all its heavy-hitting subject matter, the beauty in ‘Letter To Self’ is the optimism it leaves you with, the noise well and truly drowning out the pain in an empowering fashion. O’Reilly’s dynamic guitar lines battle against the lyrics, keeping things upbeat in the likes of ‘Literary Mind’ and maintaining the dramatic flair on the eerie ‘Shaking Their Hands.’ This is a dynamic album that is reflective of the muddled world we find ourselves in – delivered with a fortifying sense of honesty from an essential emerging band.



  • Release date: January 5
  • Record label: City Slang

The post Sprints – ‘Letter To Self’ review: noise-rock ripe with melodrama appeared first on NME.


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