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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Through The Sparks
Lazarus Beach
Skybucket

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


September 17, 2007
Through The Sparks wants us to know they have chops. The band's new album, Lazarus Beach, is their version of Nilsson Schmilsson - that 1970s gem of schizo excess. Songs run the range from Wilco-esque, spaced-out country to the fluffy pop-rock of early Shins. Though lyrically very dark, Lazarus Beach is an incredibly laid back listen.

Jody Nelson, the band's frontman, delivers his vocals with a voice that is sweet and runs in sharp contrast to the more bitter lyrics. References to "space-age polymers" and the depressing expansion of American suburbia suggest a fire and disdain not normally voiced so gorgeously. The uplifting choruses and 70s grooves, when combined Nelson's lyrics, create a disturbing and yet lovely portrait of American life and our tendency to ignore or gloss over the excessive commercial savagery surrounding us all.

Musically the band is tight, and Through The Sparks exhibit their technicality and rage at every opportunity. Unfortunately, on some of the tracks this tendency to embellish distracts from the overall power of the songs, and it is evident that Through The Sparks could stand to take a queue from The Walkmen, who are terribly adept at running the line between experimentation and lack of focus. Multiple layers of Hammond organs, electric pianos and guitars are wrapped around the steady thump of Tom Mimikakis' complex but subtle percussion, his rhythms going a long way to making Lazarus Beach an album that continues to impress on subsequent plays.

Lazarus Beach is not a masterpiece, but it is one of the most solid and enjoyable discs of the year thus far. With proper focus on a track's output rather than its input, the next Though The Sparks album could easily be a classic. In the meantime though, while we all wait for the band's next coming, I recommend kicking back and enjoying a stay on Lazarus Beach.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke

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