Swedish indie duo I Used To Be A Sparrow are fast workers. Having founded in December 2011, they are already preparing to release their second album, You Are an Empty Artist, in March.
Flying somewhat under the radar as of yet, Dick Pettersson and Andrea Caccese are hoping that this follow up to Luke, their debut release, will elevate them into the public consciousness.
Continuing the theme of rather incomprehensible names, the single from the new album is called ‘Warpaint on Invisible Children’, which acts as a good introduction to the duo’s sound.
Drifting synth, syncopated drums and staccato guitar riffs are teamed with ethereal reverb-heavy vocals and tight, clean production, which makes for an impressive electronica soundscape. This is a noticeable improvement over their debut release, which comes across considerably more lightweight in comparison.
As for sound-alikes, you can certainly hear more than a hint of one of I Used To Be A Sparrow’s chief influences, Coldplay, while there are nods to Angels and Airwaves and Explosions In The Sky, whom Pettersson and Caccese also cite as favourites.
Overall, there’s a very strong sense that all the songs belong together musically, but often the tracks are almost too closely related – making it hard to tell when one has ended and another has begun.
This also has something to do with the duo’s predilection for writing tunes that eschew the standard verse-bridge-chorus structure and don’t revolve around chorus hooks.
Of the 11 tracks, the emotive ‘Submarine’ is the standout. Featuring just jangling guitars, the track adds some much-needed texture to the album, and the line ‘We had it all, you know’ has real poignancy when sung with such well-placed falsetto tones.
While not exactly a sing-along indie-pop classic, the light, uplifting feel of You Are an Empty Artist, teamed with excellent production values, makes it a very listenable album.
You Are an Empty Artist is out March 15th on Paper Wings Records.
11 is louder than 10 verdict
11 – Sonic boom
10 – Planet rock
9 – Headbanging
8 – Turn it up
7 – Rocking
6 – Foot tapping
5 – Worth a listen
4 – Background music
3 – Turn it down
2 – Earache
1 – Turn it off
0 – Ear bleeding