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“Blippy concept album from spaced-out dreamers”
The Spark is Los Angeles-based Chop Chop’s third release, but the first in three years. In the time between 2008’s Screens, the band has adopted a slightly folkier attitude, opting for fuzzy guitars and a more stripped down sound to accompany the synthesizers. Not to say that the group has completely departed from their upbeat pop sound, but the record seems a bit more intentional in its songwriting and layout.
The Spark tells the story of Carolyn, a 17-year-old Earth girl who is kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a devious shape shifter. “Slavery,” the second track on the album, is a perfect pitch, centered on singer Catherine Cavanagh’s sweet and sometimes haunting vocals. It’s an upbeat number with soul. “I can feel myself fade away,” Cavanagh sings.
On “The Shapeshifter Deception”, Cavanagh sings about the heartbreak of investing in relationship only to see the object of affection dissipate into a stranger. Upbeat electronic blips, fuzzy guitars and dance-y backbeats flesh out the piece as Cavanagh sings, “the girl I knew is gone.”
“Revelation” is a self-aware diary entry. Cavanagh riffs over a ’60s beach-themed vibe complete with reverb-laden vocals, tremolo surf guitars and simple drums.
On “Above The Earth,” she sings, “you are a piece of me I cannot remove.” The lyrics along with the banjo-tinged arrangement suggest a lost love letter never sent.
The entire album sounds like a cooler, un-forced soap opera unfolding in Cavanagh’s mind. Although there isn’t a standout track on the album, each plays its part, contributing to the overall feeling of the record. Like a good book you can’t put down, The Spark is an easy listen that leaves you with the feeling that you’ve just met a new friend. (Archenemy)
Produced and recorded by Chop Chop in Los Angeles // Mixed by Charles Newman