Saturday, 5 January 2008

Feel The Beat And Do It Anyway - Sparky's Magic Piano

I’m not quite sure where this record has come from, but I’m sure glad it’s here! What an unexpected pop jewel, winking coyly in the sunlight. This album is short and sweet, it’ll take up just 36.36 minutes of your time ladies and gentlemen, but that’s 36.36 minutes jolly well spent, especially if you’re in the market for some cute but not cloying, witty but not clever-clever, sassy electro-indie-pop. What you get are what could be deemed weally wather twee songs (vocalist Marion’s prime instrument here is a glockenspiel) if it weren’t for the fact that they’re beefed up with a cornucopia of bedroom boffin sounds. This is a whirligig of noise: deeply squidgy electronica, feather-light synths, plinking, twinkling, soary, squeezy, - sounds poured in and stirred round and round to create electro-pop wonders.

‘Like Falling In Lo*e’ opens the album with an esoteric fizzing and humming that makes it sound like all kinds of experimental shenanigans are about to commence, but no! Sparky’s Magic Piano shower us with ba ba bas, jangling and buzzing gloriously. This is indie-pop!

‘Mend’ cranks and huffs, rumbles, squeaks and fuzzes behind Marion and Oliver’s girl/boy harmonising – a pop factory run amock. ‘Coffee Song’ is Tender Trap put in the wash with The Projects – kitchen sink indie-girl pop pepped up with diminutive motorik beeps. ‘Something Somewhere’ is oddly reminiscent of Apples In Stereo, a busy, buzzy clockwork toy of a tune, although it sounds thoroughly English thanks to Marion’s icing sugar vocals. Her sweet voice sounds like the smell of Lush Candy Fluff powder.

‘Sparky’ and ‘You Like Her’ are acoustically strummed and unadorned proving that the band have the tunes to throw off their gleeful, bleep-full layers of sound and go sonically naked save for a strategically placed glockenspiel. The second half of the album sees Sparky’s Magic Piano coming over all wistful with a sweetly rueful run of songs. ‘Kaleidoscope’ is a shy anthem-in-waiting, sighing and aching. ‘You Are The Star’ is a bit Trembling Blue Stars; slowly filling with brittle beats, ghostly merry-go-rounds twirling and rain splashing on shining streets. ‘Home Improvement’ has the wintery dreaminess of The Radio Dept with its delicious catch-in-the-voice sinking feeling.

We all know there’s nothing new under the big old Crayola-ed indie-pop sun, but ‘Feel The Beat And Do It Anyway’ is cheerily refreshing. An instantly endearing sunbeam.

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