South Bend, Indiana-based post-gaze outfit SPACESHIPS is set to release their fourth full-length, Ruins, on March 24 via Friend Club Records. Recorded by lead vocalist/guitarist Nat FitzGerald with the other members individually throughout 2021 and 2022, Ruins is a collection of songs born out of the social polarization of the pandemic, protests, and political upheaval of 2020 and the fractured relationships with those standing on the other side of where the dividing lines were drawn. Today, the band’s new crushing epic single “Spillt," featuring Ryan Osterman of Holy Fawn can be streamed below.
“‘Spillt‘ was inspired by the fallout of a few friendships that were bruised by careless jokes and flippant comments that I made without considering who might be in the crossfire," says Fitzgerald. "Sonically, it was one of the first songs I transferred when I started playing baritone guitar, which helped accentuate the heaviness. I was having a hard time pulling off the scream myself, so we took a chance and reached out to Ryan from Holy Fawn—it paid off.”
About the new LP, this is the heaviest SPACESHIPS record to date, both lyrically and musically. The band marches through vast spacious atmospheres punctuated by sludge plumes of fuzz. Extensive pedalboards and acrobatic drumming underpin vocals that shift from a whisper to a roar.
The lyrics largely focus on the relational toll that the last few years of social divisions have caused. Heated arguments with friends and family members are replayed in “Sinews” and “Seedlings,” close relationships are marred by flippant remarks in “Spillt” (which features Ryan Osterman of Holy Fawn) and “Chatroom,” and the nature of God is weighed against his so-called followers in “Measure.” Sonically, much of the record was flavored by FitzGerald buying a baritone guitar, which he plays on six of the eight tracks.
"This is also the first SPACESHIPS album that wasn’t tracked live since I Am a Storm At Sea!!!, which has its tenth anniversary this year. I spent years multitracking albums as a solo project before SPACESHIPS, so I’ve wanted to do everything we could to capture the energy of a band in a room, and the best way I thought to do that was to literally record a band in the room,” FitzGerald says. “But between lockdown and the juggling act of new kids and jobs, we couldn’t do that this time around. Instead, I brought everybody into my basement studio one by one and worked on a section at a time. It was far more time-consuming, but every part of the song got a lot more attention this way.”
The process also allowed for more complex arrangements, with their heavy guitar-centered approach augmented by acoustic guitars, keyboards, drum machines, and saxophone, as well as more layers of guitar than tracking live allows. It was mixed in house by FitzGerald, then sent off to Mario Quintero (of the band Spotlights) for mastering.
RIYL: Holy Fawn, Astronoid, SOM