We are living in a time where nothing stays static. Technologies change at breakneck speed, trends go as quickly as they came and musicians change their style from album to album, see Arctic Monkeys. So in this current climate it is nice to find a band that produces something they are good at, and stick to it. In the case of Sparrow And The Workshop, it has only been improved.

The second full length offering from the multi-national band sees them picking up where the first release left off. Spitting Daggers showcases a perfect mix of styles within one record, tied together by the signature ethereal vocal of Jill O’Sullivan. It takes all the previously loved elements of the band and adds a degree of muscle, where intense lyrics mimic the persistent beats with obsession and passion. ‘Our Lady of Potatoes’, the libidinous true story of Louis XV and his mistress, is concentrated fascination which sweeps across the record, of deep interest within an obscure topic and of, simply, love, which is further reinforced elsewhere on the record, such as ‘Soft Sound of Your Voice’. It takes the album to another level, creating an image of mysterious creativity and giving an edge to those oh-so-perfect harmonies and vocals.

There really does appear to be something for every mood here, a lyric or a style, without feeling disjointed. Feeling chilled? Just listen to the gentle guitar and slow beat of ‘Father Look’. Feel like a bit of the heavier stuff? Try the opening track ‘Pact to Stay Cold’ for your Sparrow & the Workshop fix. The bind that allows these styles to lie is the aforementioned vocals of the band, creating a distinctive aural mark. It may sound incredibly clichéd, but it gives each listen more depth. Whether it is a greater love for a particular drum beat, or a hidden musical layer within a track, the album is certainly a giver. The harmonies provide the most notable example of this. They are an expected, yet astonishing, feature within the band’s work. They are ever present, but still manage to blow you away, and surprise you further, with each listen. The album’s title track produces some of the most beautiful male/female harmonies without losing its edginess. To be able to do this is no mean feat, many have tried and many have failed. But Sparrow & the Workshop strike the perfect balance between heartbreakingly beautiful and dirty rock.

In this modern age of constantly shifting boundaries and artists searching for their ‘new sound’, (think of that episode of The Mighty Boosh and you will see the hilarity), it is nice to see a band sticking to what they do best. Ethereal vocals and harmonies lie effortlessly next to harsh beats, allowing both rock and folk sounds to shine through.

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