Now that we’re finally dragging ourselves out of our Winter slumber, all we wanna listen to are songs slathered in slacker garage pop feels. So it’s pretty natural to turn our ear to the West Coast, home to The Spunloves, a four-piece that comes blistering with lo-fi reverb and a contagious beachy vibe.
Photo credit: James Taylor
Get to know Perth’s The Spunloves as we delve into their sun-bleached tunes, stories about how they write tunes, and their drive to create timeless music.
The Spunloves’ roots were etched back in 2010 when the band’s two frontmen, Jordan Zu and David Vulin, met “through a group of wayward dudes” and, taking a shining to each other’s songs kicked around swapping tunes. Once Sam Kuzich, a high school mate of Vulin’s was brought into the fold to play drums, the trio played shows bass-less for a couple of months until eventually, they approached Sam Eastcott of The Wheelers of Oz, recruited him to play bass, and boom.
With a bassist on board, the band started putting together their self-titled debut EP, which landed in May, compiled of Zu and Vulin’s first four ‘coherent’ tracks. Accommodating the visions of two frontmen meant a strict split: the first two songs belong to Zu, the last two to Vulin. But don’t be concerned that this means it’s an album of two opposing halves; it isn’t. It’s a chance to blend and nurture their ideas rather than mark their territory, and sidesteps the threat of two visionaries butting heads together in spectacular implosion.
She Is You first came about six years ago, written by Zu in the bedroom of his parents’ house. Back then, in typically angst-ridden teenage boy style, it was slow, sombre and written on an acoustic, and Vulin was keen to jam on it, giving the track a new lease of life. “I sped it up,” Zu recounts, “Vulin held the tempo down on drums.” From there the track re-emerged as a shimmering, drum-peppered tune, with the main lead riff written as it was being recorded.
In similarly organic style, Zu’s second track, Tall Tale Blues, came about during a jam session in his shed, materalising at first as a “super cheesy chord progression” that initially provoked a lot of laughter. “I started singing these really obscene vocals over the top,” he recounts. “It was so humorous to us because the chords were super pretty and I was singing some pretty raw words. So during the week, I toned down the lyrics and there it was.”
Pretty chords and raw words are themes that transcends through to Vulin’s half of the album. The rather spectacularly named Chlorine Eyes comes drenched in lyrics that seep under your skin like, ‘You remind me of a time / a time when sunburnt lives meant the world was yours and mine.” The track shimmers with feel-good vibes and nostalgia for the summers of his childhood: holidays spent away with a sprawling group of family friends; the parents hanging out playing charades and bocce; the kids riding bikes through the streets and hanging out at the beach feeling like they pretty much owned the world. “At that point in time, a lot of people in my life didn’t even know that I wrote music,” Vulin explains, “I kind of felt like I was hiding a part of myself, but instead of it being a deep dark secret, it was something I wanted other people to hear.”
In contrast to those luminous days, Vulin wrote his second track, Ballroom Blues, the day after he thought he’d supremely blown his chances with a girl. “I find overthinking creeps into my songs a lot,” he says, “I was listening to a lot of Link Wray and surf music when I wrote that song.” Before you start boo-hooing in solidarity too much, it turned out his anxieties were all imaginary, and the girl he thought he’d lost forever is now his girlfriend. But the consequence of his temporary heartache lends a darker, more sombre edge to the album, although it still buzzes with that essence of reverb that’s come to characterise the band’s sound.
As for what’s next, it’s split fifty-fifty, in true Spunloves style, in the form of a double A-side that the band are currently in the process of pressing up, and which will be out by the end of the year. Zu has penned Vomiting Up Flowers, and Vulin, Feather Leaves. And next month, they’re straight to work on a second EP, keen to put out as much music as they can “whilst the vibes are locked.”
“We want it to be timeless,” Zu explains, “to transcend a garage-rock fad or that Mac Demarco guitar sound. That shit won’t be cool in two years. We’re into making tunes that people from Perth and around the world can listen to in 20 years and still be able to daydream to.”