Welcome to another stream of consciousness masquerading as an album review.
Recently I’ve been listening to Hirnkäse by Sproingg. I think Sproingg are having a laugh. Not the cockney pre-brawl “did you spill my pint” type of having a laugh – no. I strongly suspect that Prudi Bruschgo (electric & baritone guitars, lead vocals), Erik Feder (drums & percussion, vocals) and Johannes Korn (Chapman Sticks, electric violin, fretless electric guitar, vocals) were not born within earshot of Bow Bells. But perhaps more to the point, I believe that the laugh they are doing is the result of creating music together with such joyous exuberance, that they may need more takes when tracking their music than the average band. I imagine that this is because of all the laughing, not that they can’t make serious sounding music, as demonstrated by High Up on Mushroom Hill, which is as serious as Cordyceps fungi triggering a human pandemic because it am do being weary of making zombie ants.
I couldn’t help comparing the second track, Abababa, with a marvellous band from my hometown, Dub War. If you know Dub War then you’ll also know that they are the band in that last sentence, not the town. The town is Newport. Knowing this, you’d also probably agree with me – or want to fight, it could go either way. But this doesn’t mean that Sproingg are limited by this comparison. They have their own palette of sounds, not Dub War’s, so calm down!
Sproingg make lots of different noises indeed. For example, in places there’s boiling Chapman Stick basslines and crunchy drums with a side of distorted guitar. In others, it gets a bit Violinsome. Elsewhere, the strings may get a jus of compressed, squealing distorted guitar and percussive sprinkles. There’s a good chance your ears will recognise some morish Beyati-ish modal swirls or a creepy Kalimba-ish crisp. Sometimes the music is a laminate of percussion, forward/reverse guitars, and shimmering reverb gloss (follow me on FaceTube for more recipes).
The vocals you hear are not actually crimping (know your Boosh). What we have here is, in fact, improvisational singing and chanting performed by the members of Sproingg in a seemingly mythical language called ‘Bruschmaristan’. I know this because I read it on their Bandcamp page, and you know it now because I just told you. Sometimes Bruschmaristan chanting is accompanied only by superbly recorded drums. Sometimes other instruments. This vocal idiosyncrasy adds to the occasional otherworldly feel of this album.
Much like Lost Crowns, Sproingg are not averse to injecting some dry humour into their creative approach. There is wordplay in the titles – I enter into evidence the song title Ridge of Peas, Nation of Peace – there may even be wordplay in the Bruschmaristan chants, who knows?! OK, they look pretty serious in this video, performing And her name was ‘Jo-Jo, the dog faced boy’ Part 2 (and who wouldn’t), but I assure you, they are laughing on the inside.
Sproingg have put an album together that is rounded and diverse while staying recognisably Sproingg – if you’ve heard them before, that is. Some of their music might not even be intended to be regarded seriously. But Sproingg should be seriously regarded.
01. Ggniorps 2 (0:35)
02. Abababa (5:17)
03. For whom the Bellch tolls (7:07)
04. Antetonkel (7:14)
05. And her name was ‘Jo-Jo, the Dog-Faced Boy’, part 2 (3:54)
06. Hirnkäse (7:59)
07. Tschuwak Tschubak (4:26)
08. High up on Mushroom Hill (9:10)
09. Ridge of Peas, Nation of Peace (8:04)
10. Ggniorps 1 (0:45)
Total Time – 54:31
Prudi Bruschgo – Electric & Baritone Guitars, Lead Vocals
Erik Feder – Drums & Percussion, Vocals
Johannes Korn – Chapman Sticks, Electric Violin, Fretless Electric Guitar, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Germany
Daste of Release: 5th May 2023