By Frank Krolicki
Remember those trippy scenes from Gumby when Gumby and pals would be roaming around outer space encountering all sorts of strange things for no apparent reason? As soon as the intro track, "Joe Meek's Dream," off Narrow Sparrow's debut EP Synthworks starts, I'm for some reason reminded of that. Random, yes. But any band who can make me think of such things is OK in my book. Like those old clips, this stuff is as far out and weird as it is colorful and accessible, and I can just imagine the happy green lump of clay running around on the moon while these blippy bedroom-pop sounds play away in the background (of course, the spacey, retro pop culture-referencing, stop-motion video for the track probably didn't hurt in making this connection).
"Joe Meek's Dream" is the definite jewel in the crown of the four-track Synthworks, but the entire EP is a solid introduction. "Spooky Head" combines the band's overall eerie spaciness with doo-wop and some creepy laughing noises to enchanting effect, while the vintage chirped synths and hazy mood of "Glow" take the eeriness even further. Final track "Moon Temple" caps it all off properly as a manic psychedelic send-off for this Chicago band's musical endeavors. It all ends too soon, but that's not really a bad thing because I know I'll be all ears whenever Narrow Sparrow comes up with something else.
You can hear for yourself by downloading Synthworks for free here.