It’s been 17 years since indie pop duo Sparky’s Magic Piano released their debut album, the cheery electro pop «Feel the Beat and Do it Anyway!». After an extremely long hiatus Marion and Pob releasing their second album «Never Twice the Same Colour» on 9th September 2022. And most of us, of course, have a question, why is it taking so long?
You could chalk it up to the fact that being a musician sometimes numbs the creating experience, but it’s unlikely when we talk about Sparky’s Magic Piano. In the decade since Sparky’s last album, the world entered a new century, we witnessed some of the most significant political events of a generation, we watched emo rock, rap metal, K-pop, and technology has reached a new level.
Meanwhile, Marion and Pob became parents and they have less free time to be selfishly locked away writing and recording. But music was still an integral part of their lives. Pob played violin in the Fulham Symphony Orchestra while Marion joined a women’s barbershop chorus.
Over these 17 years, Marion and Pob seem to have gone even deeper into themselves and into the wilds of their own sound — in search of inspiration, they turn to family and friends, pets, and a couple of tracks inspired by their favourite TV shows.
First album «Feel the Beat and Do it Anyway!» was full of experiments with analog electronics sounds, synth, acoustic and some rock elements.
The main innovation of the new record — is the rejection of electronic samples and the construction of some kind of sound landscape out of them.
Now everything is done live, with «handles», now the Pob does everything himself, giving Marion the opportunity to concentrate on high, but at the same time airy vocals. According to Pob: «We made the decision to record the album in early 2019 and wrote and recorded a lot of it during the pandemic so that was a background influence to a lot on the album, directly or indirectly.»
In «Never Twice the Same Colour» the overall mood ranges from mild melancholy (as in «Albie I Know») to a truly classic atmosphere of premonition (especially in such songs as «A Pair of Keys» and «Tiny Shiny Shoes»). The sound is also, strange as it may sound, traditional in a good way and vintage in places.
«Someone from There» and «A Pair of Keys» were probably the most complex songs to record,» said Pob, «There are a lot of tracks on those songs and balancing complexity/richness against clarity was difficult. I could blame the limits of a home studio but I think that’s a challenge most producers face.»
As for Marion’s vocals, after a long 17 years, it practically has not changed. It seems that Marion has found the perfect balance between falsetto and head voice. Her voice is so pure and beautiful that it sounds like an angel.
The new album is essentially a catalyst of indie pop shoegaze sensibility and energy. We can see «Never Twice the Same Colour» as a perfect introduction to dream pop for newcomers to the genre. The duo blending with a pleasant balance of rock, folk and pop and after that, we get a handful of really catchy songs that are delicate, simple and emotional.
«Sparky’s Magic Piano», having made an outwardly absurd turn in their creative biography, allowed themselves to be absolutely frank with the audience, and 17 years later, with their new album, they show that their main vocation is still music.
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