Soothing electro indiepop with a lyrical fascination. Think not Au Revoir Simone (or The Besties, esoteric friends), but London’s Sparky’s Magic Piano. Some impromptu lunar tuning gives way, and the blissful aural assault re-enforces the more poignant festivities of Christmas.
More than an album of two parts, Sparky’s debut set Feel That Beat And Do It Anyway! is more an album of recurring dual beauty, bittersweet lyrics darting about the smiling pop orchestration like butterflies. At first listen two tracks jump out and drag me into their warm hearts – the spectral Mend, a lilting, pulsing, labyrinthine tune of supra smooth lyrical grace that shimmers in such a princely manner – and Coffee Song, a wistful wonder that parps away in desolate beguilement, lead singer Marion Turnbull stalking her subject with an ear tuned to poetic glory.
St Etienne and Stereolab are two of the big alternative electronic pop names that Sparky’s Magic Piano seem to follow with their eyes shut, which is surely the best way. There’s a bit of Eels‘ playful electronic orchestration here too, at the start of Something Somewhere, in which Turnbull’s voice really comes into its own, twisting and rising with the music with smiling emotion. There is something special about a voice that spins unadorned singing lines as open and honest as this. As the album goes on I just find myself falling deeper and deeper into Turnbull’s warm spell.
You Like Her has a chorus that comes out between stars, mellifluous and poignant as a glockenspiel twinkles along with an acoustic guitar. Home Improvement, meanwhile, subtly blazes with Au Revoir Simone-like orchestration, Turnbull etching her own homely lyricism with assured originality. Sparky, featuring the dual vocals of Turnbull and partner Oli Bartlett, is the hub of the set, all wistful, dreamy, defiant and affectionate in the beautiful pop tradition (“I’m only a boy do they really believe, that I can play Mozart, Haydn and Grieg, I’ll close my eyes and then they’ll see”). Closer Forget it All is a fittingly stunning shot from whence all the others came, a shimmering netherland of modern outsider dreams.
I really can’t say enough about this record. It’s a smiling, sacred modern pop beauty. From nowhere into nowhere, Sparky’s Magic Piano really are the subtlest revolution in song.