The Spitfires

There’s a new band hailing from Watford causing quite a stir at present. The Spitfires, a Moddy quartet with a penchant for songs and song writing have come to our attention with their debut LP. 13 songs, some stories and some killer tunes aplenty.

Opening with “Disciples” I’m almost immediately reminded of “The Rifles” and Paul Weller vocals. For a relatively young band it’s a mature sound. The keys sit nicely behind an altogether clean sound. Powerful drumming and some power chords compliment the anthemic vocals on this great opener. The chiming guitar in the bridge is superb as the song builds up to the big finish. The singalong at the end I’m sure will see mass audience participation in the live arena. “Tell Me” has breakthrough single written all over it. More chiming guitars as it launches itself into action. I’m hearing “Modern World”-era Jam, but the keys if anything make it unique enough to call it their own. The middle 8 is interesting to say the least, before those direct vocals return once more.

The Spitfires

“Escape Me” is The Rifles in everything but name. It has that killer “Moddy” sound-in yer face vocals, more chiming guitars and an undercurrent of menace! The sax and keys edit at the end is impressive and makes me think these guys are prepared to push the envelope and experiment a little. “Spoke Too Soon” is a gentle offering; honest, heartfelt vocals ably assisted by a simple arrangement before Billy (vox) opens up his lungs. A clear, mellow keys section sits in the middle before those softer vocal tones return once more. It reminds this reviewer of Shed 7 at their most melodic, but the similarities end there. At just shy of 7 minutes one imagines this to be a song where Billy catches his breath live. It becomes more powerful at the end but is just one of many great songs on here.

“Relapse” opens with a shimmering guitar part before those strong vocals come right at you. A solid guitar part follows soon after before more “in yer face” vocals from Billy. There’s spite and anger in his tones but the guitar is the star here. There’s even a well-placed Ska beat towards the end before the power returns. Recent single “Stand Down” opens with a guitar part I haven’t heard since the Jam covered the Who’s “Disguises”! The keys remind me of The Stranglers but overall this song is a classic in the “Mod Revival” style. Anthemic, terrace chant choruses take precedence over a big sound. Once more Billy’s vocals are “Weller-esque”, but this is by no means a criticism-more a compliment. Having listened to this L.P. 3 or 4 times now I just cant get this chorus out of my head, and neither will you the listener!

The Spitfires

“Serenade Part 1” is an acoustic-led, mid-LP interlude. One could be forgiven for thinking it was a piece of music used to accompany a short film on Channel 4! “I’m Holdin’ On” heads straight back to the power hitting and huge guitar sound. There’s a real energy and vibrancy running thru’ this song. It’s a real “rabble rouser” that reminds me of The Ruts in their heyday. The shimmering guitars work a treat in the bridge and expand powerfully right to the end.

“Spark To Start” has more than a nod to “Great Escape” – era Rifles, most notably in the vocal. The keys go almost unnoticed behind more shimmering and chiming chords but it’s another “up ‘n at em” track that will keep the more energetic fans happy. ‘Words To Say’ is much gentler with Chris’s keys playing a prominent role. It’s another song that adds some welcome Ska near the end but ups the power to its conclusion.

“When I Call Out Your Name” stays in the softer mood. A clear, audible vocal sung over a subtle beat. Quite clearly a song written for a girlfriend/lover the lyrics are heartfelt and personal. The keys jostle for space with those guitars once more as it powerfully finishes on a high. “Serenade Part 2” for me is unnecessary (unless it were to be an outro). However, they end on a high with “4am”. Another story telling and personal account about life in general, put to music. More honest, heartfelt lyrics sung with real passion. It’s a bit overlong but I’ll forgive them as it’s their last song.

The Spitfires

This has to go down as one of the best debut LP’s I’ve heard in a while. This Watford quartet clearly wear their influences high up on their sleeves, and yes, some are more obvious than others. But there’s plenty here to build on, and if anything it’s The Rifles who might need to ‘up their game’!

Band Members
Billy – guitar/lead vox
Sam – bass
Matt – drums
Chris – keys

Tell Me
Escape Me
Spoke Too Soon
Stand Down (Album version)
Serenade Part 1
I’m Holdin’ On
Spark to Start
Words to Say
When I Call Out Your Name
Serenade Part 2


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

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