Label: Distiller Release date: 19/04/10 Link: Myspace The three piece from Glasgow, who have supported the likes of British Sea Power, have given us this intriguing collection of songs, flitting comfortably between several styles; most notably Americana and perhaps country. Crystals Fall is a slightly bizarre invention at times, despite sounding fresh and new, older influences can be heard quite clearly. Album opening ‘Into the Wild’ is ethereal and raucous, setting the scene for the rest of the record perfectly. ‘Blame It On Me’ is reminiscent in places of Cat Power, singer Jill O’Sullivan’s vocals sounding sorrowful. The album is haunting and well crafted, the songwriting sounding oddly far older than the trio’s years. Each song is a mini tale of jealously and love, heartfelt feelings and pain played out with relentless drums, woeful voices and thunderous guitars. Crystals Fall is an otherworldly experience. Although the older influences are undeniable, nothing about this record seems re-hashed or horribly similar to anything before it. The use of instruments throughout Crystals Fall is incredibly interesting and complements the powerful vocals brilliantly. At times, O’Sullivan sounds eerily similar to Grace Slick. Of course, this in turn could immediately draw comparisons to Jefferson Airplane, but this would be neither negative nor entirely correct; Sparrow and the Workshop escape any immediate comparisons by managing to sound surprisingly original. The harmonies, especially on ‘Crystals’ work impeccably. It would be easy to suspect that Jill O’Sullivan’s powerhouse of a voice could be slightly overpowering, however the boy-girl vocals blend together flawlessly. There’s an atmosphere to Crystals Fall that can’t quite be explained. It’s mature, magical and mystical. It’s a beautifully mournful album and the sorrowful lyrics are showcased by O’Sullivan’s faultless voice. ‘Devil Song’ dashes along ending with the lament of “Take away my heart so I can be free.” ‘The Gun’ begins with soft guitars, making a change from the raucous instrumentation of before. The lyrics also continue to be intriguing, “I’d like to be the ghost the floor.” It’s this intrigue that makes Sparrow and the Workshop something entirely different. The trio sound as though they’ve been making songs for years and years, but in reality they’re relatively new to this game. Crystals Fall conjures up vivid and ghostly imagery; the vocals are alarming and magnificently commanding. The wonderful thing about Sparrow and the Workshop is that they’ve managed to produce an album where each of the songs is as arresting as the other, which is unquestionably a gift. Photobucket