Spring was a one-shot Progressive Rock band that released their only sole self-titled debut album in 1971 on the NEON label which was a sub-label from RCA Records. The album had been previously reissued on CD from Akrama, Repertoire and The Laser’s Edge to name a few.
This year, it’s been given the 2-CD format by the good people from Esoteric Recordings that features a 16-page booklet that features unreleased photographs, new liner notes done by Malcolm Dome, and not to mention the notes from Ken Golden on his notes from the time The Laser’s Edge released the album back in 1992.
Hailing from Leicester, the band recorded their debut album at Rockfield Studios with the late great Gus Dudgeon (Elton John, Locomotive, XTC, Joan Armatrading) at the production helm. The album is known for having three Mellotron’s on here. It’s this combination of Czar, Gracious and a dosage of The Moody Blues thrown in.
You can close your eyes and imagine being in your house in the time that the album came out and listening to it from start to finish and almost being completely blown away on where they would have gone next. Pat Moran’s vocals is astonishing and very relaxed. With the lush opener The Prisoner (Eight by Ten), it has a folky feel and a bass line done by Adrian “Bone” Moloney followed by the Mellotron going in through the emotions that fits the vibe with a sad yet ascending melody to fit the atmosphere.
Shipwrecked Soldier starts with militant drumming introduction done by Pick Withers before kicking off into a political heavy rock roar thanks to the riffs from guitarist Ray Martinez while the piano ballad of Song to Absent Friends (The Island) shows Spring their softer side. It has a reminiscent of Elton John’s song lyrics and Pat showing his singing to the lyrics as if it was almost written by Bernie Taupin with a strong vibration.
As I’ve mentioned earlier on the opening track, Spring have a Folkier side. On Boats, it begins with a intro and in the midsection in the style of Fairport Convention, then the Acoustic Guitar goes into a Waltz rhythm and featuring a country-like sound on the electric guitar thrown in.
The closing track that has an ascending rhythm off into the sunset on Gazing, the tune begins in the style of the choices that we make and everything that we do is a story in our head and waking up by realizing, it was all a dream. The song almost reminded me of the end of Gentle Giant’s Three Friends with a symphonic feel, but in the moody elements relaxing momentum that closes the book with a new beginning and a new day.
The second disc shows Spring moving away into the Progressive Rock sound and going forward into a Jazzier and heavier direction in which it could have been their second album, but then the band would later be dropped by the label and soon they broke up after their debut album didn’t do well. When you listen to the bonus tracks, you could understand why they weren’t able to succeed, but it is very interesting hearing the tracks and knowing that it was coming to an end for them.
But many years later, Spring’s only debut album is a collector’s item, and now it’s finally getting some recognition it deserves. So a big hats off to Mark and Vicky Powell for reissuing a hidden treasure that was ahead of its time and dusting it off for a cleanup. So if you love the sounds of the Mellotron’s and bands such as: Czar, The Moody Blues, Gracious, and Cressida, then I highly recommend exploring the wonders and magic of Spring’s sole self-titled debut album.