Once again Austin delivers, this time with the recent release of The Lovely Sparrows‘ Pulling Up Floors, Pouring On (New) Paint on Abandoned Love Records. And with this five-song debut EP, the Texas town continues to pump out quality artists. The Lovely Sparrows take folk music in a new direction, adding a unique abundance of percussion and a few non-traditional instruments, like the flute. I raved about “Chemicals Change” when I wrote the feature article on The Lovely Sparrows, and the rest of the EP continues with more cymbal heavy, orchestrated folk-pop.
“Chemicals Change” remains at the forefront as the group’s catchiest and most celebrated tune, though many other songs round out the EP more than adequately. “Your Flowers Will Bloom” adds more orchestration, including banjo, xylophone, tambourine, and what sounds like a melodica. The song builds from the group’s light folk pop roots in the beginning to a more folk-rock style ending. “The War Has Seen The End Of Me” follows “Chemicals Change” as one of the most catchy, most memorable tracks on the EP, adding a chorus of vocals and a mix of knee-slaps and finger snaps. The percussion is reigned in and virtually non-existent — the tambourine keeps much of the beat while flute continues to break the boundaries of traditional folk-pop for a very refreshing and unique sound.
Shawn Jones occasionally possesses the vocal stylings of Ben Kweller, but only in “Attention Disorder Kid”—though Jones, in my opinion, remains a more innovative songwriter. “Attention Disorder Kid” includes much heavier piano than the previous songs on the EP, with punchy choruses and a pleasantly soft conclusion that leads directly into the beginning of the album closer, “Let’s Watch The Tourists”. The piano use continues in this final song, though softer and less punchy. Not only is the conclusion a mix of the group’s somewhat signature cymbal-heavy percussion (have I not emphasized that enough?), it also has a major focus on the snare toward the end.
Throughout, “Let’s Watch The Tourists” grows and builds to a climactic and satisfying end. The Lovely Sparrows do this well throughout Pulling Up Floors, Pouring On (New) Paint, and their ability to innovate and experiment beyond traditional folk-pop is unbounded. Pulling Up Floors is well worth the purchase. You’ll be missing out if you don’t check out The Lovely Sparrows, one of the best new bands of 2006.
This review was originally published October 18, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.
Abandoned Love Records [CDEP, 2006]
1. Chemicals Change
2. Your Flowers Will Bloom
3. The War Has Seen The Last Of Me
4. Attention Disorder Kid
5. Let’s Watch The Tourists