Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Sprints deliver anxiety, urgency, and catharsis on Letter To Self

"Letter To Self"

Release date: 05 January 2024
Sprints Letter To Self cover
04 January 2024, 10:30 Written by Joshua Mills

By the time Sprints’ debut LP drops, we’ll be far enough into 2024 that the early optimistic wave of the new year has broken and rolled back. It’s the same old world, and we’ve got to live in it.

To that end, Letter To Self could hardly be a more ideal record to start things off on the right track. The Dublin four piece have come up with a punchy, indignant collection of raucous garage rock, packed with vitriol, self-reflection, and the occasional burst of light. They’re tunes of real heft and fantastic energy, performed with intensity and commitment by singer Karla Chubb.

For those averse to the current maelstrom of talky post-punk, there are reasons to be fearful up top. Opener “Ticking” begins with oblique lines articulated unaffectedly over the heartbeat of a kick drum. Sprints are no clever-clever Mark E Smith disciples, though: the track swells with buzzing bass and choppy guitars as the tension increases; “I don’t know if I’m living or I’m just living here” Chubb bellows, before the band reaches full gallop. By the banshee-wailing crescendo, you’re hooked.

Sprints’ palette blossoms as they go. “A Wreck (A Mess)” has shades of west coast pop-punk in its bouncing, melodic bassline, while the phaser-pedalled guitars wash the track with the best of ‘80s goth rock. It’s one of the more complex arrangements on the record, falling to bits and whooshing back together for an anthemic close and a Tears For Fears-esque solo.

Whether thudding or sparkling, Sprints’ songs are always substantive. A recurring subject is the treatment of women in and by the music industry. “Adore Adore Adore” is the album at its most direct and dynamic, a quiet/loud structure primed to explode with frustration. “They never call me beautiful / They only call me insane,” Chubb spits. Even better is “Up And Comer”, a sneering riposte to patronising commentariat (“she’s good for an up and comer” goes the hook). Between the rumbling drums and Jimmy Page-like riff, it’s as close as Sprints come to classic rock.

Letter To Self’s finest moment is also its brightest. Single “Literary Mind” is a belter, again led by the driving melodies of bassist Sam McCann. Amid the anger and jangled nerves that permeate much of the music, here Sprints give us four and a half minutes of pure joy. As the backing vocals stack up, it turns from a bouncy love song to something soaring and gargantuan, bubbling over just as the jubilant chorus returns one last time.

With the EPs and singles they’ve released to date, Sprints have already amassed an impressive live following, and Letter To Self feels like the kind of showpiece debut release that could put them over the edge. It’s a thumping statement that can challenge and charm in equal measure.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next