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Music Review

Sam Sparro: 'Sam Sparro'

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Sam Sparro: 'Sam Sparro'
Released on Monday, Apr 28 2008

Mere weeks after he came to our attention with 'Black and Gold', perhaps the most spine-tingling single of the year so far, Sam Sparro's debut album is upon us. Though he seems almost to have sashayed out of thin air, Aussie-born Sparro has been honing his sound on an LA indie label for three years now, while music's been part of his life for all of his 25 years. When your great-grandfather's a music professor, your grandfather's a respected jazz musician who performed with Sinatra and your father's a gospel singer, that's the way things tend to go.

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

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