I’m now at an age where indulgently nostalgic activities can be excused, and so yesterday I spent a few happy hours playing the early 90’s Sega Megadrive game Toejam And Earl. The game is still fun – as any game featuring jet-pack Santa Clauses and randomly scattered hula-girls is – if aged, but its best features were, and still are, the 80’s MTV visual stylings and the jazzy P-funk soundtrack.
For a such a determinedly odd game, it was right on the button, time-wise, when it came to music. Did the game steal its sounds from Dr. Dre or was it the other way around? I like to believe the latter, and picture him playing a game featuring three-legged aliens speaking in mock surf-slang as an idea for global musical domination forms slowly in his mind.
If the game was made today (which it wouldn’t be, because it’s too much fun, and doesn’t feature enough gun-toting gangsters/marines) it’d have a soundtrack to reflect today’s sound. But what would that be in such musically fractured times?
The internet has made everyone a semi-expert on every type of music, like, ever, and now every man and his dog are making songs that blend 90’s lo-fi with 80’s electro coupled with a sprinkling of 00’s ‘glitch music’. In fact, Today’s New Band might be a better bet.
Sparky Deathcap has all the right ingredients: strange name; colourful imagery and even more colourful sounds; miserablist themes; and obscure influences. Oh, and glockenspiel, natch.
“Make your own luck/Send it to Oslo,” sings R Taylor, implausibly, whilst a delightful smattering of ooh-ooh’s, handclaps and lazy pluckings brawl in the background. These are songs that bloom into slick, clever and shimmering nuggets of pop despite their clunky, rough-around-the-edge roots.
Winter City Ghosts is another case in point – the forefront clattering of the drums and the phone dialling tones are steps that most musicians would baulk at taking. Sparky Deathcap confidently strides; confident that a beautiful, thoughtful song would emerge from the confusion, like when you walk around an Anthony Gormley tubular sculpture and suddenly a figure appears from the mass of pipes.
Sparky Deathcap is a musician for today, and all that that entails. Offers to score bewildering funk-surf video games may or may not follow. Listen here!