The Springfields: Singles 1986-1991 (Slumberland) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, January 19th, 2020  

The Springfields

Singles 1986-1991

Slumberland

Dec 10, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Ric Menck and Paul Chastain might not be household names, yet in an ideal world they'd be as famous as Lennon and McCartney or Rogers and Hammerstein. Having met in a Chicago recording studio in the early 1980s, it wasn't long before the duo formed their first band (Choo Choo Train, check them out!). Releasing a handful of singles on the Subway label, Choo Choo Train became the most prominent U.S. band of the indiepop scene that would later go on to be known as the C86 movement.

However, Menck (a drummer) and Chastain (a bassist) wouldn't just stop there. It was with their next project The Springfields that heads started to turn over on the other side of the Atlantic leading to legendary Bristol independent Sarah Records putting out one of the label's earliest releases in the summer of 1988. While that single ("Sunflower") now goes for a king's ransom on various market placesone recently changed hands on Discogs for the princely sum of £64their legendary status as one of the most everlasting bands from that era lives on.

So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that one of America's most revered independent labels Slumberland has secured the rights to The Springfields back catalogue, compiled 12 songs from theirs and its main creators' archives, and put together arguably one of 2019's most essential best of collections just in time for Christmas. Singles 1986-1991 features eight original compositions alongside four, impeccably delivered covers. The album perfectly encapsulates Menck and Chastain's knack with not only crafting perfect pop of the highest order, but also subtly rearranging the work of others into their own unmistakeable formula.

So while the likes of "Sunflower" and "Wonder" depict classic 1960s influences and album closer "Scatter Good Friends" hints at their next venture (the melancholic Velvet Crush, briefly signed to Creation in the early 1990s), The Jesus and Mary Chain-esque "She Swirls Around Me" and fast paced "Bicycle Song" take incongruent paths elsewhere respectively. Even their choice of coversPrimal Scream's lost classic "Tomorrow Ends Today" and early Matthew Sweet composition "Are We Gonna Be Alright?" being tworesonate like tributes to Menck and Chastain's peers at the time rather than superfluous paeans.

If music be the food of love then this represents all three courses rolled into one. (www.slumberlandrecords.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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