SPQR — Talking To The Dead Review

Liverpool three piece SPQR’s debut single, Talking To The Dead, perfectly captures what I imagine it’s like having a punky shouting match with a zombie. Loud, droning and chaotic. These are all good things.

The song opens with a simple guitar shrill, paving the way for a catchy, growling baseline accompanied by a beautifully simple beat on the drums. The song is then cut open by a long, echoing, drawn out voice: sounding exactly as the song title would have you expecting it to.

The verse continues in the same vein as the intro, with sporadic vocals clawing up above the instruments and demanding your attention. The next section of the song hits you as hard as a punch in the back of the head. A slight pause makes way for an unexpected rush of guitars and drums, giving the song an urgent feeling that, after the verse, you definitely weren’t expecting. During this rip roar, inaudible whispers in the background sound like the singer is literally ‘Talking to the dead’. This section ends with a sharp, staccato note, kicking the listener straight back into the verse.

In the second verse the vocalist becomes more irate in his vocal style, shouting out the lyrics. This, more aggressive, verse drags the music into a first chorus. Exploding, the song gives the listener another punch for good luck, with fast crunching guitars and an energetic drum beat. This elevates the song to another level. The chorus ends suddenly and the bass falls back into its lulling riff, letting the electric guitar cut through the song like a hot knife through butter. Wailing almost as if a haunting spirit, the guitar continues to play above the low roar of drums and bass.

The song is stitched back up with another chorus, this time feeling more urgent than the last. Towards the end the song feels like it’s really coming back to life, and building into something amazing which never comes. This is an artistic decision/risk by the band, and it’s one which I think really pays off. The song ends on the lyrics, ‘sticks in my mind forever’, as if this is what the vocalist wants the song to do. And honestly, it certainly worked on me, and has me excited for whatever is coming next.

Jonny Lee