Imogen Heap Sparks


Echoes of ‘Vespertine’ in the electroacoustic backing; vocals closemic’d, speak-sung: “Hey babe, how’s your day been? No, you first. Oh,
what? The delay’s quite bad.

Yeah, sorry.” And as if to make an obvious point even more so, the track’s
entitled ‘Telemiscommunications’. Not unlike Damon Albarn’s (admittedly better) ‘Everyday Robots’, what might be called the emotional heart of Imogen Heap’s fourth album, ‘Sparks’, engages in a critique whose supposed profundity

This mysterious Wirral dream-pop five-piece have been attracting quite
a bit of attention of late and it’s easy to see why. Heap

The footprints of their North West forebears are evident throughout the debut LP’s 10 tracks, with shimmering jangle guitars reminiscent of Jonny Marr, vocals that invoke the sensual, detached diction of Ian McCulloch and a collection of wistful themes which reprise the sugar-coated teenage
romances brought to life by The Stone Roses. Heap

However, while the choruses are strong,

‘Endless Days, Crystal Sky’ would undoubtedly

benefit from more variation. A throwback sound which also draws
heavily upon The Cure and The Psychedelic Furs means that By The
Sea seem to find themselves perpetually looking over their
shoulder and they’ll need to move beyond that if they are to hold
attention spans beyond this record.Heap

The description of the video for ‘The Mess Up’, an early DZ Deathrays
song, reads, “2 guys, 1 bottle of Jägermeister, 3 minutes,” and
inevitably ends in a load of spewing.

This intoxicating, lively and ramshackle behaviour characterised
the spontaneous set of songs from their live set that made up their debut
album. Despite being a very slightly more measured affair, which was
specifically written as an album, their follow-up, ‘Black Rat’,

still manages to fizz away at your insides like a concoction of energy drink,
cheap alcohol and Lucozade tablets provoking hyperactive energy

(best illustrated on the album opener and title track, which is like a hard shove into a mosh pit).

‘Albumin’ – the forth album from this Baltimore group – is a waltzer ride of
a record.

Within the first three songs it transforms from the opening Nine
Inch Nails-like synth stabs of ‘Razor’s Edge’ to the Hammond Organ-drenched ’60s jazz-rock of ‘Walk On’.

It’s a template that sets the tone for the rest of the record; it’s
varied but it can’t quite find out what it wants to be.

In trying to be several things at once it often results in staying put in
the middle ground of fairly uninspiring trad-rock.

However, where the former push space and atmosphere
to the forefront, ‘Albumin’ seems intent on filling every available
space, which can result in both an overwhelming and clumsy
experience, such as the funk-soulwaltz hybrid of ‘Chariot’.

After fifteen studio albums and thirty years of noise under The
Flaming Lips’ banner, the quirk,

Opening with ‘The Bat’, busy lo-fi production, circuit-breaks and
creeping vocals drift in from the ether before

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