Sparkling: Felonious

review sparkling x1 cong

We thought this lot to be a US hip hop group — that’s what the title puts us in mind of — but it’s not: it’s vintage 80s synth pop delivered to a high standard. We’ve been playing the new Foals album a lot, and it’s a bit Foals, 80s style.

Sparkling are Danish — Carsten Mørch-Bentzen on vocals and Jens Christian Madsen on the synths — and they’ve been in no rush to get this out, as it comes a mere 15 years after the release of their debut.

If you’re eagerly awaiting the next Rewind festival to see all your heroes on stage, or were a fan of the New Romantics, you could do a lot worse than this; the added bonus is sounding like you know about modern music, “Oh it’s just some Danish band I came across,” you can casually tell your friends.

It’s all lovingly put together and the care is obvious from the opener Say Goodbye To The Ragged Tiger, which opens with wonky synth and percussion, and lyrics worthy of peak-serious Duran Duran: “You’re lost in the fortress / A ghost from your boyhood / Here you are with a broken heart again”. (It might not be “fortress” we can’t quite make it out). The falsetto chorus is rather good, the song meaty and interesting.

Blossom Blood is more intense, opening with drum machine and pounding bass and showy vocals from the New Romantic area. Portentous synth builds in the background and the rather dark verses give way to a big chorus. Fractions has something of Autobahn about it. Standout is Flashlight Heart, though none of the CD is anything less than very good.

Fans of bands such as Simple Minds, Ultravox, Steve Strange and Flock of Seagulls should like this.


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