Its Friday and I’m doing a blog post! This is the first blog post on a Friday of the year and it’s a pretty good one. Today I’m reviewing Spark Alaska’s album Longest Winter. This was released way back in May 2014 which seems ages ago but as a matter of fact was only 2 years ago. To quote Lorenzo, the lead person for both these guys and Petite League, on what the album is about ‘This is a record about being happy, figuring it all out, and long, long winters’. This really sums up the whole album in the best way possible. Also when you have this quote in mind when listening to the whole album you can clearly hear which songs sound like which part of the quote. It’s a really chilled out and simple sounding album to listen to. So let’s dive into it!
The first track that I really loved on this album was Cleveland Is For Leaving, track 6. I really love this song as it sounds just like a sweet little love song or to that effect on the surface. But if you listen closely it’s got so much more to it about wanting to leave and be with the person you love. All of this is presented to you with a plucky guitar strum throughout that picks up a beautiful pace in the song. it gives the song that raw ‘bedroom’ made sound which is both really popular at the moment and I really love it myself as well. I would also say that this is a figuring out type of song. of how it all works and how to make it all work and be happy at the same time. As this song has no backing beat, like drums or a funky techno modern sounding beat, it makes you connect more with the song as its if it’s being played in the room with you and you’re there watching and humming along to it. This is a really well written and put together song with the elements of a long distance relationship.
This next song is sort of a combination of two songs, track 7 and 8. This is due to the fact that track 7, House Sounds is an interlude that links into track 8, Portuguese Voices. I really love songs that have these, as it really brings the whole album physically together and adds to the wholes vibe the album is trying to create when you listen to it all the way through in order. This song is really creatively made as it uses elements from a variety of different styles and instruments that overall bring a haunting and oriental feel into your headphones. That’s really what I love about this song, its wider variety in music/sounds yet it still feels raw and ‘bedroom’ like. If you haven’t already guessed I also love this tune as it has a slight talking element to it with some ooooo’s to add on top of it. This is such a creative way of, almost, subtly introducing a new sound into the song which only adds to what is already there. This has to be one of my favourite Spark Alaska songs, I said it.
Overall this album brings a wide variety of music to the table all in one album. Each song speaks for itself independently from one another yet also seems to all link together in an odd musical way. Each song also has a raw homemade bedroom pop element to it which brings it all back down to earth and makes the music seem more relatable and personal to the listener, which I love. I didn’t really pick the best tracks to showcase the variety of ‘musical styles/genres’ that are covered in this album. The one that would possibly, almost, shock you would be track 5, Sofia. This is a cover of Mannequins on 7th Street which is very very well done. I always say that the original is always better than the cover but in this case I would say they are both level playing. I would definitely recommend this album to any Orchid Mantis fan as its very similar stuff in a raw twisted way.
Buy the album here: http://sparkalaska.bandcamp.com/album/longest-winter
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