Sparkadia – The Great Impression
June 15, 2011
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Unfortunately, the album does not live up to the title. Like the Liberal party’s “Direct Action Plan” on climate change, John Farhnam’s claims of retirement or the AFL’s progressive policy on women; this album is all talk. It is a disappointingly dull effort from Alexander Burnett, there is just nothing great about it. Talking Like I’m Falling Downstairs, the nonsensically titled lead single placed well in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2010, but it would have had to be pretty terrible not to place well considering the radio-raping someone at Triple J decided to give it. Triple J are free to overplay songs as is its want, but to me it detracts somewhat from the validity of the countdown. Furthermore, I feel like if Sparkadia had actually tried to talk while he was falling down the stairs, he would have found it extremely difficult. I’m not sure the first thing that would come to my head if I fell down the stairs would be “I should write a song about this.” Anyway. The album is a journey in uninspired soft guitar driven pop music contrasting with Alexander Burnett’s fairly impressive and unique vocal range – one of the only redeeming features of this album. Most of the tunes follow a similar and all to familiar pattern of guitar and piano combined with vocal whingeing and a down tempo feel. He got dumped, we get it.
I really tried to enjoy the album but it was just boring. None of the lyrics grabbed me, none of the hooks were catchy enough and the whole affair lacked any sort of punch, any sort of edge I could appreciate. It was like a beige knitted jumper, not really hurting anyone but still so unsatisfying as a garment. The singles released so far are the best this album has to offer both China and Mary the only semblance of something inspired or interesting. Compared to the first album from Sparkadia Postcards I felt very let down. Postcards was a definitely more focused and inventive work; The Great Impression seems like squandered potential, it just didn’t have it. The sophomore album wasn’t as good as the debut. Big surprise. As a side note, I may not have enjoyed this album as much because I am really not a fan of this sort of middle of the road indie-pop sensiblity. I would prefer alternative musicians to leave the vapid and uninteresting music to the pop-stars. If you are going to run your guitar through an amp at least turn the distortion up past 7.