Sparky’s Magic Piano – ‘Never Twice the Same Colour’


The newly released album Never Twice the Same Colour is a showcase in melodic songwriting from London-based indie pop duo Sparky’s Magic Piano.

The husband/wife team of Oli Bartlett and Marion Bartlett released their debut full-length, Feel the Beat and Do It Anyway!, in 2007. Following a lengthy break, they have now returned with Never Twice the Same Colour, following up 2008’s mini-CD The Escape from Aled Jones.

The opening “Tiny Shiny Shoes” ushers in comforting guitar twangs amidst shimmering organs. Marion’s vocal lead captivates with a weightless charm, as Oli adds lovely harmonizing through the “slow down,” refrain. The lush guitar twangs prance with entrancing qualities alongside the meditative vocals, guiding into an effervescent uptick in guitars and organs. The “when I’m gone, please keep your heating on,” sequence stands out especially, traversing seamlessly sinto the pulsing guitar infection.

The highlights are numerous throughout the album. “Albie I Know” also excels with its gradual easing-in of guitars and organs, guiding thereafter into a more sophisti-pop form with yearning dual-vocal convergence. The lush synth pad and inviting percussion, following the first minute, reminds fondly of Prefab Sprout; the “it’s killing me,” vocal confessional is heartrending. “Hanging for the Bang” is another stylish highlight, adding some dance-inclined savvy into the funky rhythmic hints and dynamic string-laden structure.

The band elaborate on the album’s inspirations:

“This album was inspired by the lives of our friends, our families, even our pets and our fictional friends on TV over the past 3 years. We’ve written about the emotions and upheaval lockdown put us through, but also about the stories of heartbreak, miss-firing love, and abandonment that were still there during the pandemic, unaffected. Musically I wanted it to sound as far away from a home recorded/produced album as possible – so this meant replacing the synth bass from our first album with real bass, the 808 with sampled live drums, more live guitar, more live violin, cello and a trumpet for good measure!”

Stream Never Twice the Same Colour:

“Tiny Shiny Shoes” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of September 2022’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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