Label: City Slang
Released: 5th January 2024
Since their beginnings in 2019, Dublin four-piece Sprints have shown a real knack for transforming turmoil into witty, brazen, powerhouse punk; and their highly anticipated debut album ‘Letter to Self’ encompasses all the elements that make this band one of the most exciting around right now.
The album feels like a lyrical acknowledgement of everything vocalist Karla Chubb has been through in her life. Subject matters are heavy – anxiety, sexuality, religious guilt, suicidal thoughts – yet there’s a force and energy throughout that makes it feel like a real reclamation of power. The heartbeat-like drums of opener ‘Ticking’, a slow builder delving into feelings of shame and fear, mirrors an emotional spiral with its unsettling guitar riffs and thrashing climax. ‘Cathedral’ is suitably gothic sounding (there are also gothic elements in ‘Can’t Get Enough Of It’), with Bauhaus-reminiscent verses and cacophonous choruses in which Karla unapologetically examines her experiences as a queer woman.
‘Shaking Their Hands’ has a more post-punk vibe and shows a softer side to Karla’s vocals, while ‘Adore Adore Adore’ is an infectiously catchy, thundering track which calls out the unfair standards that women in music are held to. Karla is her most vulnerable in the unsettling and more instrumentally sparse ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, a song which details suicidal thoughts, yet power is never lost – demonstrated by the anthemic and bright ‘Literary Mind’, the witty sarcasm of ‘Up and Comer’, and the celebration of autonomy of the jumping titular track.
Sprints are an unapologetically honest and authentic band, which is what makes them so great. ‘Letter To Self’ is an important and unpretentious exploration of pain, trauma, and above all else, perseverance. Karla has an amazing ability to convey emotion through her voice, and the album as whole is a ferocious sonic force which shows defiance and determination in the face of life’s hardships. It’s a record to which many listeners will be able to relate their own experiences to and find community in the catharsis it creates, as well as having a hell of a good time jumping to it in a mosh pit. A truly remarkable debut.