His family's four-generation musical heritage notwithstanding, Sparro's debut album draws almost exclusively from the dance music of the last 30 years: a generous helping of electro, a big, heaped plateful of disco, a soupcon of house and lashings of tasty funk on the side. Sparro's take on these sounds is much like the man himself - strong and sinewy, but packed with sparkle. Though 'Black and Gold' is the undoubted highlight - how could it not be? - there's plenty to enjoy here, most notably the winning Prince pastiche 'Hot Mess' and the fun, flashy next single '21st Century Life'. 'Cut Me Loose', meanwhile, is the sort of glitter-drenched party anthem that the Scissor Sisters would sell their gold lamé trousers for.
Sadly, Sparro's songwriting is prone to immaturity - a trait he's recently defended with a shoulder-shrugging "I'm silly sometimes". The anthemic electro-disco of 'Pocket' houses a trite message about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, while 'Cottonmouth', an ode to drug-induced dehydration, is probably the stupidest song ever to feature the word "discombobulated". Then there's the inane chorus of 'Clingwrap': "Ya must I have thought I was ya snack, 'cause ya stickin' to me like clingwrap". Ouch - what a waste of Sparro's big, important-sounding voice! These lyrical misfires are especially disappointing because elsewhere Sparro is thought-provoking and serious, rallying against famine and inequality on '21st Century Life', going all existential on us on 'Black and Gold' and 'Too Many Questions', and slipping in a fairly self-explanatory funk trifle called 'Recycle It!' half-way through.
Its handful of teeth-grinding moments notwithstanding, Sam Sparro is a frequently impressive debut containing a smattering of future floor-fillers. He's got the voice, the sound and, more often that not, the songs; once he's reined in that "silly" side, this Sparro could really soar.
> Click here for our recent interview with Sam Sparro