KWLC Review: “The Great Impression”
Released a year ago in the U.K., Sparkadia’s lastest release, “The Greatest Impression,” has now hit American shores.
Hailing from Australia, the band began in 2004 as The Spark, but now is a solo project of Alexander Burnett after the group split up in 2009. This second full-length album was produced by Mark Tieku (Florence + the Machine) in London with Burnett playing multiple instruments on the recording.
The album beings with Burnett’s elegant vocals soaring over ambient sounds and percussion, recalling an optimistic memory of someone who made “the greatest impression on me.” Yet this short opening track foreshadows the sadness that will soon become evident, and in the next track, “Fingerprints,” Burnett laments that “your memory lingers long after your fingerprints.”
While his story may be conflicted, however, his music is not. Each track flows into the next, but holds its own style and dynamic. Burnett’s voice is both lyrical and loud, well in tune with the harmonies and fitting to the ’80s rock ballad sound that reminds me somewhat of Empire of the Sun.
This sound though, is not out-dated; Sparkadia is fresh and vibrant. The first time I listened to the album, I didn’t realize I had listened to the whole thing until I saw an hour had passed. Catchy numbers like “Love Less Love” will have you moving around despite the reflective lyrics.
“Mary” will capture you in a rock anthem that speaks to the dangers of love, exposing Burnett’s torn emotions and making one wonder what kind of woman this Mary could be to inspire such a lengthy and intense album. The drama doesn’t fade as the album continues and Burnett explains, “I started something I couldn’t finish.”
Piano sounds similar to Keane begin “Fade From View,” a track that brings back the optimism of memory’s ability to keep people around. But with the final song, “Too Young,” Burnett finally accepts a brighter future, getting over this woman who he realizes he never really knew. Yet whoever inspired this 14 track album must have been one heck of a woman.
After listening to it all the way through again, I find that Burnett is not just singing for himself, but that these songs are for others to listen and learn from. He put a lot of hard work into the instrumentals, melodies and harmonies on this album, but the lyrics are something else.
I think “The Great Impression” is worth a full length listen for us Americans as this Aussie has really made one on me.