Sparkwood Jalopy Pop

Texas band Sparkwood waited four years between the release of their first and second albums and that time was spent honing their musical skills. It was time well spent because Jalopy Pop is an improvement over their debut. They don’t quite have the knack for Beatlesque melodies that makes Jellyfish so special or the rockier abilities of the Fountains of Wayne, but there is still something very contagious about Sparkwood. And the question still remains about just why they haven’t been signed to Rainbow Quartz yet because they have the sound that that label seems to demand. The songs here are classic pop tunes that could have been recorded in any of the past four decades. Jalopy Pop walks the line between sweet and saccharine, and it doesn’t always stay on the right side. Sometimes the songs try just a little too hard and sound more like a pastiche than an attempt to pay tribute to a long tradition of power pop. Fortunately the band are under no pretensions about what they do and the ability to keep their tongue in their cheek makes the majority of Jalopy Pop a lot of fun. But just like the best candy, after that initial sugar high wears off, there isn’t a whole lot left to remember. Still, everyone loves candy. (Independent)