I've just sent off the following to The News. Sparklehorse plays Vancouver at Richards On Richards February 15th so Mr. Goodman will leave publishing of this until closer to that time -Friday, February 9th paper I would guess. (All music reviews and editorial is in the Friday editions)
‘Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain’
7 out of 10
Like a rusty tension rod, strains of the beautiful and the sad carefully bolster Mark Linkous and Sparklehorse’s release “Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain”.
The album with the exasperatingly lengthy title pulls material from previously released B-sides, compilations and soundtracks. In fact, you will have already heard the work of Sparklehorse’s creator, Mark Linkous, if you’ve seen the 2002 film Laurel Canyon, in which some of his songs were used.
Mark Linkous is Sparklehorse and Sparklehorse is Mark Linkous – a project rather than a band per say. Known for its mellow and woozy alternative sound, reminding me of Grandaddy, Built To Spill and perhaps even The Pernice Brothers.
Mark Linkous’ character has been described as “hermit like”. And despite tucking himself away in his homemade studio in the hills of North Carolina, his latest work summons collaboration from heavies such as Tom Waits, Flaming Lips’ Steve Drozd, and Sol Seppy (Sophie Michalitsianos), with finishing touches by genious producer Danger Mouse.
Linkous’ less than perfect voice echoes The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne; particularly picked up with tracks “Mountains” and “Shade and Honey”.
It’s this incongruous nature that also upholds tracks “Morning Hollow” and “Return to Me”, perfectly revealing Linkous’ character – being at ease with gloom having fought severe depression, disability, substance abuse and addiction.
Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain is not completely despondent as it chokes up two rock tracks, “It’s Not So Hard” and “Ghosts In The Sky” and one of my favorites, the upbeat “Some Sweet Day”. But that’s not what illuminates this album. It’s in songs “See The Light”, Knives Of Summertime” and “Getting It Wrong”, where shards of stoicism and engraving grief carry through.
One can appreciate this Sparklehorse release simply because its style is so far off the beaten path of the mainstream. It can be incredibly mellow and lamenting, but can’t be altogether criticized. I loved it.
A DFLYITBOAM Review link at Playlouder.com
(Yes, just when I think I can write about music, I come across some smart ass - just kidding. Ted Grant has fantastic perspective and writing)