Sparky himself has described it as a documentation of the fallout of a relationship and, as Noah & the Whale’s ‘First days of spring’ has shown, it’s rich ground for songwriting. The two records share another quality in the scale of their efforts. But whereas Charlie Fink’s band have taken to being orchestral, Robert ‘Deathcap’ Taylor makes its own way down the tricky path. The closest comparison that comes to mind is that of ‘We Have Sound’. Enigmatic, mercurial but ultimately a musical genius, ‘Tear Jerky’ has shades of Vek all over it, whether purposefully or not, as it mixes a cold, industrial soundscape with guitars and handclaps. There’s a vision throughout, and it’s notable how each track has a vibe that’s completely and utterly its own, which can often be a problem for solo artists. It also avoids the usual trappings of sounding unnecessarily stripped back, it’s both bold in content and bleak in sound becoming an EP that has vision and clarity running throughout.
Whilst stereotypical singer-songwriters may think it’s perfectly fine to make a ‘Hey there Delilah’ style riff and make an entire voice-and-guitar album, this is pretty much Plain White Tee’s polar opposite. Whilst ‘Berlin Syndrome’ may only be Sparky and his guitar, there’s a bleakness and isolation that most attempts at describing heartbreak miss. The juxtaposition of being able to contact someone in mere moments through the internet but being emotionally separated has rarely being encapsulated with such precision as ‘With Facebook hope and Myspace I could find you in a keystroke/but for the airfares and the likelihood you’d have found another bloke’. It’s touching whilst being a harrowing reminder of the internet torture that awaits at the end of a modern-day relationship.
For the most part, the EP is a near-the-knuckle retelling of awkward truths, but it’s a near perfect of a slow burning record which flows to near perfection. At just under 18 minutes, it leaves you desperate for more, and there’s quality oozing from every last second. From the opening groans of ‘Glasgow is a punk rock town’ to the final crashes of ‘Send it to Oslo’, there’s not a second wasted. Taylor’s unique voice brings his vivid lyrical descriptions to life with a beautiful verve. It may not be the easiest listen of the year, but it’s definitely one of the most rewarding.
Sparky Deathcap – Glasgow is a Punk Rock Town (last.fm)