Spa Water


Liam Murphy

August 24, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Slurred, dizzy and unpredictable, an ironically comprehensive sound leaks out of this strange release

This review is included in listencorp 004, which you can purchase here.


It is possible, though certainly challenging, to make music that sounds intoxicated. When we think of disorientating music, it is easy to refer to overtly experimental releases that focus on battering the listener with dissonance, lack of tempo and general chaos to inspire confusion. It is also natural to think of long, ambient ventures that use the malleable nature of synths to bewilder. Strangely, Spa Water’s Tubing is a dizzying experience while keeping to a largely poppy electronic sound. This being a difficult task, maximalist instrumentation spews from every track along with impressive musicality in order to provide a uniquely drunken sound. 

There is a general overlay of effects on the album that help it towards its noxious sound. Both the make-up and performance of the vocals certainly add to the dizzy feeling Tubing gives. The vocals on Here Forever – which is an uplifting and carefree pop song through a slurred glaze – sport a slapback echo that jars with the rest of the instrumentation. The squelchy keys on the track seem to lift up higher and higher as if the listener has ingested some strange parody of Willy Wonka’s fizzy lifting drink. Things clear up a little at the midway point with a more didactic percussive offering, but the vocals still feel strange, with a comedic bass-y tone meshing unevenly with the impassioned main vocal part. 

On Low Planes, we get a tone not unlike Ian Curtis’s, a dark diction to match the eerie mood at certain points. It feels, in most tracks, as if the vocals are being sung by some stumbling person struggling to keep themselves in a straight line as they walk through strange, askew surroundings. 

It is hard to ascertain whether or not Tubing has any overarching concept due to its bleary-eyed delivery. The nonsensical nature of its sound lends itself to an unserious atmosphere. But there are moments that tease a more austere tone. God of Stone starts with vocals that lash out like a bumbling figure making their way home, zigzagging down a path as wonky buildings wobble in their periphery. But the gradual inclusion of commanding religious choral voices suggests something serious and even ominous is at play, meshing with the dissonant descending carnival sound to create a truly warped scene. This more serious side to the track is pushed even more as chords begin to grow in stature in an ascending sequence, finally landing in a weird, plodding sequence reminiscent of some horrific cartoon villain.

Tubing is a release harbouring a grotesque chaotic energy. Within the fumes, slurry and grey run-off, however, is a precisely executed musicality that provides an endearing edge to every track. Spa Water seems perfectly at home in unkempt, maximalist instrumentation, wielding detuned melodies and disorientating sounds with little fear.