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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.▼ Article continues below ▼
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