Flipron’s Billy Shinbone teamed up with The Damned’s Rat Scabies to take on us on a real joyride of a record that is eerie and romantic, carries a grandeur of prairies and plains and lurks in intimate moments of electronic pulses and gentle drum sections.
Sparkle’s heart beats in the fantasy of the west through the howls and neighs of ‘Quantum Cavalcade’ and the ominous gallop of drum beats in ‘The Bin Men Found It’. It stops and quickens in the pop of the opening ‘La Venta’. A sense of adventure and menace hangs in these melodies, Shinbone and Scabies weaving a haunting noir romance. This particularly struck me in the brilliantly creepy ‘The Sewers of Carcassonne’, its synth alien loops and spectral splashes of drums.
The suspense is glazed over by what Billy Shinbone did best with Flipron: storytelling, which in Sparkle has no need for words. There are some grand tales looming boldly and an abundance of anecdotes spangled through the record, concealed in the light trot of a guitar or cautious drum beats ready to pull out the guns any second. ‘Plimpton 322’ in its three minute run sketches out an epic story of heart aches, loss and love with Billy’s guitar rising alongside momentous drumming only to fall into wistful trickle.
The penultimate ‘Stuffed Bear Rides The Rings of Saturn’ is a real jewel, standing out on the record in its subtle changes of pace and feel, the melodious love child of Jim Jarmush, most country in its honest acoustic guitar, vast in geography and intimate in the capture of a moment. It’s a hell of a romance, raising hair on your backs and bringing tears to your eyes. It’s a romantic adventure only the coldest of hearts would give a miss.
Review by Anna Siemiaczko