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- Sparklehorse »
There’s more to life than being cool. Or so we’re told. But sometimes a musician can be so carelessly unfashionable they accidentally become inspirationally hip.
Take Sparklehorse architect Mark Linkous – visually a homeless Chris Cornell dressed by Bob Geldof. You get the distinct impression that, as he’s previously alluded, all he wants is to be a happy man. He isn’t a tortured soul however, nor does he pander for sympathy, merely surrounded by a genuine sadness of how to make sense of his life.
Not that you’d foresee such unspeakable depths of emotion on the strength of opening rude awakening ‘Tears On Fresh Fruit’. Linkous walks on smoking a tiny cigarette stub then proceeds to delightfully thrash a tsunami of rough feedback-strewn noise from his battered guitar.
But when ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ heaves into life with the line “sometimes I get so sad”, it feels these words have never before been put together to articulate anyone’s feelings, such is the gorgeously direct shot to your by now heavy heart.
‘Hundreds Of Sparrows’ and ‘Gold Day’ (“may all your days be gold my child”) also provide reliably mood-swinging beauty, set off by disorientating projections.
The most delicate moment is saved, fittingly, until last. An ailing Linkous asks for audience assistance in singing the eponymous chorus to ‘Homecoming Queen’ (“I need all the help I can get...”) and once the reverential awe is broken, a football terrace back-up breaks out. Thankfully not before the frontman – mildly bewildered – croaks the first chorus unaccompanied with all the fragility of a breaking heart, his frayed vocal chords only serving to make the effect even more astounding.
And it’s then it hits you – nobody else conveys such crushing sentiments quite like this; the way Linkous alternates between clean and distorted vocal mics, the sheer old-fashioned quaint innocence of fabulously crafted music. He deserves to be the happiest man in the world.
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