SO the guy who had that #2 hit single "Black And Gold" way back in 2008 is back with his second album, "Return to Paradise", but is this a tropical island or a windswept weekend somewhere less desirable?
As the electronic buzz grows on opener "Paradise People" before Sparro's irrestiable vocals kick in confirming "we are the paradise people/we are the moon and the stars" Sparro's intent is clear - a lot has happened in those four years since Sam Sparro released his debut (top 5 hit) self-titled album. This sound is fresh, funky and filthy. The good vibes continue on track 2 and lead single "Happiness" with a ridiculously uplifting piano and bassline combo. If this doesn't get you dancing around your living room in 2012 nothing will. Uplifting pop continues on the next track, sure-fire future hit "Let The Love In" with its almost pan-pipe sound demanding us to "let the love in, let the love out, tonight!" Even if you're a pessimist you're catered for here with album preceeding single "I Wish I Never Met You" - a Michael Jackson-style funked up message to a lover Sparro clearly wishes he had never met. The track, like most the album, oozes class.
For those longing the subtle pop bliss that featured on the 2008 debut you won't be lost here. "Hearts Like Us" and "Shades Of Grey" showcase Sam's phenomenal vocal talents with "Hearts Like Us" especially a more electro-type track plus there's a horse neighing in the opening few seconds if you thought things couldn't get any better. The final four tracks of the album lift things back up again. "We Could Fly" is a six-and-a-half minute disco stomper with its sweeping strings, followed hot on the heels of bass-heavy "Closer". "The Shallow End" is a gloriously insane disco track clocking in at another five minutes plus. The album finishes on the darker title track which again showcase fabulous vocal talents and claims that "(posing as humans those) androids have ruined the forest, the seas and the sky". Genius!
My only negative points of the album are remaining track "Yellow Orange Rays" which should have been fantastic but gets swallowed up by the other tracks. Also while 2010 track "Pink Cloud" unsurprisingly doesn't make the cut here it was a decent catwalk house track which would have made a nice bonus feature/hidden track not too dissimilar to "Still Hungry" on the 2008 album. Still these are small gripes and YOR may well be a grower, it just feels like the weakest of the bunch on here.
In a nutshell - recommended!