Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Sparks light up the sky
on 18 August 2014
As a huge fan of Imogen's work as part of Frou Frou, I enjoyed her solo material but struggled with some of its more esoteric moments. Yet this album is an unexpected triumph, full of ideas being explored but also warmth, melody and incredibly intricate production.
Favourite track by far is the beautiful `Entanglement' with its fractured beat, sensuous vocals and delicate lyrics describing how it feels to share yourself with someone (physically and emotionally). It's jaw-droppingly moving and just one of many moments on `Sparks' that take the listener to another place.
Also excellent is `Run-Time'. Originally developed as part of a running app (please don't let that put you off) it's a song about breaking up. It has the best, most surprising tempo-changing outro I've heard for a long while ("Can we just not drag this out please?").
`The Listening Chair' is a good example of how Imogen's unique approach to songwriting can lead to genuinely fresh sounding music. Describing all of her life so far, it's a stream of consciousness that takes in family, school life, young adulthood and low self esteem, building a life for herself and hopes for the future. What could be self-indulgent and irritating in the wrong hands is charming and life-affirmingly inclusive.
`Telemiscommunications' (with deadmau5) is a deceptively simple, scratchy, downbeat track about how technology has become so dominant in our lives and can make it harder to understand one another. Meanwhile, 'Me The Machine' is a charming counterpoint in which technology and humanity work together to create something new.
`You Know Where To Find Me' starts as a lovely piano ballad but expands to include harmonies and electronic beats.
Even the more challenging tracks (`Climb To Sakteng', `Neglected Space', `Xizi She Knows') sound much stronger when placed alongside the whole album and provide welcome changes in pace.
`Sparks' is a terrific album; here is an artist fully prepared to commit all her energy to a project and risk ridicule with lyrics packed full of ideas and imagery. Imogen never takes the easy option (with lyrics or melody) but that just makes exploring these tracks all the more worthwhile and special.