Los Angeles-based post-hardcore experimentalists Sprain have revealed plans to release a new album called The Lamb As Effigy or Three Hundred And Fifty XOXOXOS For A Spark Union With My Darling Divine on September 1 through the Flenser. It is the fruit of an intense few years of playing live, recording, line-up change and drawing together scraps from several sessions to create a mammoth, near-two-hour final product.
To start with, we get to hear the seven-minute opener “Man Proposed, God Disposes”, where Sprain immediately signal the intent to go big by teasing with a scratchy violin fanfare. We’re then introduced to their rhythmic and impsoing post-punk style with vocalist Alex Kent huffing and growling about “guilt most crushing” through a series of arresting images; “I will stand here like an idiot with an apple on my head / While you hurl response like some blasphemous arrow”. As Kent’s words become more breathless, Sprain pull us further into this mental and sonic mire by coiling their playing ever tighter around his words. When it reaches the unavoidable cataclysm, a barrage of ear-splitting strings scythe the track in two and Sprain switch approach to more lurching and off-kilter rhythm, tripping us as we stumble further into the blackness. For the remainder of the song, we feel like we’re in Kent’s shoes, bewilderingly bemused by the world around; “I admire the farce of control / And my total lack of wind, ship, sails, and oar”. Ultimately – inevitably – Sprain wash us up on a shore of isolation, their instruments rising like a tidal wave to deposit us far, far from sanity.
Listen to “Man Proposes, God Disposes” below or find it on streamers.