The Sprinfields

“This Perfect Day” is the sparkling opening track from a recently-released compilation by jangling US  guitar band The Springfields called “Singles 1986 – 1991” just released on Slumberland Records.

The names Ric Menck and Paul Chastain should be well known to anyone familiar with 1980s and 1990s guitar pop. The Springfields, along with related bands Choo Choo Train and The Big Maybe, preceded the eventual formation of melodic guitar-pop heavyweights Velvet Crush, all sharing common sonic ground with the likes of Matthew Sweet and, through producer Mitch Easter, with his band Let’s Active.

While everyone talks about The Springfields influences being The Byrds and The Hollies the glorious opening track “This Perfect Day” seems more in thrall to The Beatles legendary B-Side “Rain” and the rolling feel of “Ticket to Ride”, with its effervescent melodic bass-lines, drum rolls, phased vocals and masterclass in crisp intertwined layers of sun-bright jangling guitars. It’s one of my all-time favourite songs.

The album collects the 5 singles they released on Sarah, Picture Book, Summershine and Seminal Twang plus an extra track not previously available on vinyl.The other songs do tend to follow that Byrds/ Hollies melodic jangle template more, and also overlap with both West Coast US Paisley Underground bands like Rain Parade and UK guitar pop bands like Primal Scream around the time of their first singles and album.

One explanation for why those first two songs “This Perfect Day” and “Bicycle Song” (or “Happy Bicycle”) sound different is that these songs –  the exact same recordings  – were actually released on a 7″ single as Choo Choo Trains (“This Perfect Day”/ “Happy Bicycle” on Picture Book Records.  It’s a single I’ve had – and adored – for years (thanks Richard).

The Springfields “Singles 1986 – 1991” compilation is an essential compilation for fans of pop with harmony vocals and guitars that jangle and chime.

Choo Choo Train single