- 02 Apr 12
WIZARDS OF ODD DELIVER BEGUILING DEBUT
The music of Dublin-based three-piece Mia Sparrow is, in a word, odd. Like other odd things, it will rouse curiosity and invite scrutiny. And why not? Bristling with energy, these nine tracks sound like they’ve been made by persons on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The opening ‘China’s Gonna Help Us Out’ – with its needling guitars and jittery rhythms – signals what’s to come. Not unlike Errors, the music is discordant and noisy, straightforward tunefulness sacrificed in favour of creating a multi-layered cacophony.
The occasional excited yelp aside, the vocals have a washed-out feel. Like the chiming omnichord, glittering synths, or clattering drum sounds, they are often used to add texture, or heighten a mood. Lyrics can be difficult to make out and seem almost a secondary concern. In terms of native lineage, the closest resemblance – especially on the hazy melee of ‘Summer Slang’ – is with Estel.
On ‘Famine//Feasts’ and ‘Hey!’ the guitar rings out with the precise, sharp angularity of post-punk acts such as Gang Of Four, riffs ricocheting round-and-round like intrusive thoughts in an OCD sufferer’s mind. This high-strung style suits them. When the pace does slacken, on ‘Following Trails’, it all feels relatively bloodless. Elsewhere, ‘Death Of A Decibel’ demonstrates their abrasive side, its sandpaper-scuffed sound evoking Sonic Youth, whilst the hook-laden ‘Cute Shona’ proves they can do catchy too.
Initially, the collision of sounds – post-rock, shoegaze, lo-fi, pop – can seem chaotic, jarring even. However, like those Magic Eye images that were such a Nineties novelty, if you focus hard enough, eventually you begin to discern a compelling pattern. On this evidence, Mia Sparrow thoroughly deserve your close attention.