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Sparkwood | The La La Crutch (1101 Music)
Sprightly piano-led pop is the order of the day down in Sparkwood. Fronted by the excellently named Bart Padar, this engaging set boasts a punchy home-production and tangible sense of fun across it's fifteen tracks. Fair enough an 8 second Intro and the mix-tape essential sample of The Shave hardly count as 'songs' but there's as much sense behind the sequencing as there is in the structure of the remaining finely honed tracks. Ramie, with it's suspiciously breezy account of death by road-accident, has an infectious optimism which infiltrates much on offer here, the jaunty interlude of Cockroach Stomp and the crunch of Marianne welcome asides for those uncomfortable among an abundance of sickly sweet melodies. Cotton Mather's Whit Williams guests on three cuts (adding a Clapton-esque lead to Trilogy II), but Padar is the star of the Sparkwood set, his voice at times reminiscent of Sloan's Chris Murphy, his multi-instrumental skills and enthusiasm stamped all over The La La Crutch.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #7 - Spring 2001