Letter to Self is the debut studio album by Irish band Sprints, released on 5 January 2024 through City Slang. The album was produced by Daniel Fox of fellow Irish group Gilla Band; upon release, it received acclaim from critics.

Background and music

Letter to Self was recorded in 12 days with Daniel Fox at Black Box Studios, in the Loire Valley, France.[1] Fox who had already produced previous singles and EPs of the band, was called back.[1]

Singer, guitarist and lead-songwriter Karla Chubb stated that her lyrics were cathartic : "Lyrically it was about acknowledging everything that's happened in my life – my traumas, my struggles with anxiety – and to close that chapter by putting it on the page. There’s been a lot of shame in my life, so I wanted the title to be the most honest, on the nose thing possible."[1]

Release

The album was released on 5 January 2024 on vinyl in five different editions: Standard Black, Translucent Orange (Sprints Store exclusive), Marbled Orange and Red (Roughtrade exclusive), Translucent Yellow (Ireland Exclusive) and Cherry Red (Indies Exclusive).[2]

It was also issued on CD - with seven bonus tracks - and through online platforms.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.3/10[3]
Metacritic85/100[4]
Review scores
SourceRating
Clash9/10[5]
DIY[6]
Hot Press9/10[7]
The Irish Times[8]
The Line of Best Fit8/10[9]
Loud and Quiet8/10[10]
Mojo[11]
NME[12]
Pitchfork7.1/10[13]
Uncut8/10[14]

Letter to Self received a score of 85 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic based on 13 critics' reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[4] Uncut felt that "Sprints' debut delivers on thrilling live shows, with singer, guitarist and songwriter Karla Chubb providing a visceral fury, not least on the furious 'Adore Adore Adore', unheard since their label released Hole's Pretty on the Inside".[14] Mojo stated that "from Ireland's proliferating alt-guitar pack, these intense runners could go the distance".[11] Julia Mason of Clash wrote that "Sprints have produced an album brutally honest and personal. They have not been afraid to express the feeling of being an outsider, of looking for validation, of attempting to overcome self-doubt".[5]

NME's Rishi Shah opined that "for all its heavy-hitting subject matter, the beauty in Letter to Self is the optimism it leaves you with, the noise well and truly drowning out the pain in an empowering fashion", calling it "a dynamic album that is reflective of the muddled world we find ourselves in".[12] Ben Tipple of DIY described it as "musical exorcism at its very best, rallying against socially-imposed doubt and anxiety and – in its unique horror – finding welcome moments of inner peace".[6] Reviewing the album for The Line of Best Fit, Joshua Mills summarised Letter to Self as a "punchy, indignant collection of raucous garage rock, packed with vitriol, self-reflection, and the occasional burst of light. They’re tunes of real heft and fantastic energy, performed with intensity and commitment by singer Karla Chubb".[9] John Amen of Beats Per Minute concluded that Letters to Self is "a perilous yet fertile exploration of existential dissonance", with Sprints "striving for and often achieving an urgency and vision strikingly their own".[15] Hot Press dubbed Letter To Self "one of the all-time great Irish debuts."[16]

Track listing

Letter to Self vinyl track listing
No.TitleLength
1."Ticking"3:06
2."Heavy"3:27
3."Cathedral"2:59
4."Shaking Their Hands"3:42
5."Adore Adore Adore"2:37
6."Shadow of a Doubt"4:10
7."Can't Get Enough of It"4:19
8."Literary Mind"4:32
9."A Wreck (A Mess)"3:36
10."Up and Comer"3:46
11."Letter to Self"3:20
Total length:39:00
CD bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
12."Drones" 
13."Help Me, I'm Spiralling" 
14."Literary Mind (live)" 
15."Ticking (demo)" 
16."Heavy (demo)" 
17."Can't Get Enough Of It (demo)" 
18."Shadow Of A Doubt (demo)" 

Charts

Chart performance for Letter to Self
Chart (2024)Peak
position
Irish Albums (OCC)[17]11
Scottish Albums (OCC)[18]4
UK Albums (OCC)[19]20
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[20]2

References

  1. ^ a b c "Sprints Letter to Self - press release. Cityslang.com. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Sprints Letter to Self". Sprints website. 20 December 2023· Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Letter to Self by Sprints reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Letter to Self by Sprints Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  5. ^ a b Mason, Julia (2 January 2024). "Sprints – Letter to Self | Reviews". Clash. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  6. ^ a b Tipple, Ben (4 January 2024). "Sprints – Letter to Self review". DIY. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  7. ^ Clark, Start (17 January 2024). "Album Review: Sprints – Letter to Self". Hot Press. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  8. ^ Clayton-Lea, Tony. "Sprints: Letter to Self – Confessional album deals with experiences of struggle". The Irish Times. 5 January 2024. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  9. ^ a b Mills, Joshua (4 January 2024). "Sprints: Letter to Self Review – rollicking catharsis". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  10. ^ Edmunds, Natalia Quiros (2 January 2024). "Sprints – Letter to Self". Loud and Quiet. Retrieved 7 January 2024.
  11. ^ a b "Sprints – Letter to Self". Mojo. February 2024. p. 89.
  12. ^ a b Shah, Rishi (3 January 2024). "Sprints – Letter to Self review: noise-rock ripe with melodrama". NME. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  13. ^ Saywitz, Rachel. "Letter to Self - review". Pitchfork. 16 January 2024. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  14. ^ a b "Sprints – Letter to Self". Uncut. January 2024. p. 36.
  15. ^ Amen, John (8 January 2024). "Album Review: Sprints – Letter to Self". Beats Per Minute. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  16. ^ Letter To Self. Hot Press through X. 17 January 2024. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Official Irish Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  19. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  20. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 January 2024.