South Bend, IN post-gaze outfit SPACESHIPS is set to release their fourth full-length Ruins on March 24th through 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, we’re thrilled to give you the band’s new massive single “Spillt“, incorporating many contrary moods and coming up as a captivating teaser of the full release!
“‘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. 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.” – comments Nat FitzGerald
“I tried really hard to not write an album while we were all on lockdown. I started working on all these other projects trying to occupy my time, because we had been getting into a good rhythm of writing together, and I didn’t want to write a whole album on my own and get together like, ‘here are your parts.’ Unfortunately, I have terrible impulse control, so I wrote a double album, then the guys helped me pare it down.” – continues FitzGerald.
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. Mixed in house by FitzGerald, it was then sent off to Mario Quintero (of the band Spotlights) for mastering.
SPACESHIPS was originally formed in 2013 as a continuation of singer/guitarist Nat FitzGerald’s old solo project A Rocket Named Justice, but after recruiting additional members to play live, SPACESHIPS very quickly became a distinct project. Guitarist/keyboardist Ben Gooding originally joined as bassist, with Joel Sanchez joining on drums in 2015. Bret Wood joined on bass in 2018, with Gooding moving to guitar and keyboard. They have released three previous full-lengths: I am a Storm at Sea!!! (2013), Son of Man (2017), and Pillars (2020) as well as an EP, Tiny Fires (2019) and a split, Retrouvé with fellow South Bend post rock band analecta.
off my tongue and past my teeth
While my jaw just drops beneath
All the words i thought I’d never say
Keep them in my mind
Safe from the light of day
one spillt out
What a massive forest from so small a flame
It turns away
What a massive ship sent cutting through the
some time to think
Took malice like it was drink
My thoughts they crash like waves
Through words that I’d never say
one spillt out
never speak again)
So do I live with my jaw wired shut?
Do I cut my tongue right out my mouth
To keep from saying what is wrong
While my heart pumps venom through my veins
And my mind keeps racing back and forth
Through words that I would
Never mean to say