Independent music never ceases to be able to shake the immediate stereotype of being of lesser quality and just plain "not as good" as more widely distributed music. Sparklepop is a band who you'd never guess was an independent act.
However, with that said, I have found that I have mixed feelings about their debut, self-titled project on Luminosity Music. The album starts with "I'm So Happy." The song opens with an upbeat tempo with lead singer Miranda Brinkman wasting no time in joining in. The song takes and unexpected turn when the music gets going and everything sounds like an electronic-based garage how-down. Some may find this happy, bouncy delivery pleasing, and others, like me, may wonder if it would have been better to keep it more along the lines of how it started out. The next track, "The Lie That Ate Bobby McWatkiss" seems to be a step more into the right direction musically. Slowed down more, but yet still lively, this light-hearted tune takes itself a little more seriously. Miranda's vocals are playful and are very reminiscent of that of Heather Miller at times. "A Woman's Place" follows with a completely different sound and feel than the previous tracks. Miranda's voice smoothly flows through this ballad about where the woman's role in God's kingdom is. Miranda and her accompaniment shine brightest on the album most here than the previous tracks.
"A Sugar Coated Savior" takes the bouncy fun of the opening tracks, and tames it to a much more enjoyable level than "I'm So Happy." "Happiness In Sin" and "Miracle" are more along the lines of the more appealing "A Woman's Place," where the band really shows off their musical abilities. "Happy Birthday Jesus" uses the fun of their more upbeat tunes to point out how badly materialistic Christmas has gotten. The mood stays the same for the remaining songs, with the ending track, "I Always Will," being another soothing ballad. The CD doesn't end there, however, but features a purely acoustic rendition of "Miracle," for a truely beautiful closing hidden track.
Although not perfect, Sparklepop produces a wide variety of musical styles for a vast possible audience. It'll be interesting to see where this group is headed.- Review date: 4/24/00, written by John DiBiase
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