It’s often easy to dismiss a band on the basis of a ridiculous name--I’m quite often guilty of that myself - but for some reason when i came across Ringo DeathStarr’s early 2011 effort Colour Trip, I checked it out nonetheless, and there proved to be quite the talent behind the astoundingly stupid moniker. It’s a pretty great collection of My Bloody Valentine informed alt rock, as well as some of the grunginess of the more mainstream rock in the 90s, all in all a pretty good mix. Needless to say I was excited to see that a new release was on its way, however Sparkler doesn’t live up to the quality promised by Colour Trip.

Given the situation of the release, I suppose that makes sense. Sparkler is a collection of early EPs collected into an single album’s worth of material. While that often can be an insightful peek into a band’s developmental period, here it just proves to be a bit boring. The style is relatively the same, the guitars on ‘Swirly’ certainly recall the riffs of ‘Do It Everytime’, but it all just occurs in a bit more boring of a way. They just hadn’t quite come into their own as songwriters yet. Even though Colour Trip certainly wasn’t a lyrical masterpiece, the melodies were much more developed than they are here. Songs like 'So High' were much catchier and more memorable than even the hookiest songs here like 'Sweet Girl'. Even when the songwriting improves a bit, the music can take a bit of a downturn and turn into tired tropes of the oft trodden shoegaze genre.

Don’t get me wrong, it hurts me to say this. Colour Trip is, to me, one of the better debuts we’ve seen this year, especially from straight up indie rock bands, it just feels like this isn’t stuff we were really meant to hear as the public. This is the work of a band in its formative stages and it sounds like it. The production is massive, and the style is often well developed, but it’s apparent that this is early material, and that’s certainly not a good look for a reissue. If you’re into this sort of thing, this will serve as a passable effort that will satiate your taste for a bit, but I don’t hear the same longevity in this material that I heard in Colour Trip. This is the work of a band in the making, and Colour Trip was the effort of a true band. It’s as if we’re looking back at awkward teenage photos of a person who has only just begun to blossom.