reviewed by Chris Matei
Little Sprout, at first glance, is the kind of band whose moniker sounds like something immature or undeveloped, but Amie Gislaison, Reese Patterson and Sean Gordon are far from the innocent type. Though their music shimmies and slashes and jangles with the vital, sugary-distorted energies of DIY pop, the songs on this self-titled release reflect the need for musical and artistic expression as a method of growing beyond significant personal turmoil, addiction and depression.
On opener “No Twin Spirits” for example, the surfy bounce of the guitars ping-pongs back and forth with Gislaison’s jaded, apathetic lyrical portrayal of spending long days before returning to a home with vomit-stained carpets and a drunken parent. “Novice” sets twinklingly ballad-like guitar passages alight before exploding violently, almost “Gigantic”-style, and radiates with a similar dark, sexual tension as that seminal Pixies cut.
“Alien Boyfriend” clicks solidly, anchored with a grooving, post-punk strut feel in the verses and girl-group-garage chorus – and by contrast to the stark tracks preceding it, its lyrical content seems light and fantastical, almost whimsical. There’s a winking dose of self-deprecation as Gislaison asks her extraterrestrial crush – “do you really want to be on Earth with me?” – and why make a metaphor out of a question like that? It’s simply too crisp, too fun, to weigh down with metatext.
“Solar Wind” plays like the flip side of “Novice” – a short, raunchy, fuzzed out exercise that dates back to decade-old songwriting sessions during Gislaison’s adolescence. It’s the least fleshed out and the least gripping song on this short collection, but that doesn’t deny its validity as an artistic vehicle for the processing of youthful ideas into newer, more mature perspectives in the context of the record as a whole.
Finally, “Amie You’re” closes out Little Sprout with the band’s most ambitious arrangement, a balance of sweet balladry and fiery lyrical imagery patterned against equally heated bursts of feedback, squalling fuzz, and blissed out shoegazing. It’s all over in the same time it would take for a cinnamon heart to melt on your tongue.
Little Sprout explores a lot of ground in a short space. It’s sometimes painfully honest, and sometimes refreshingly so. Like the strange candy adorning its cover, it remembers that sometimes you reach into the box of chocolates that Forrest Gump talked about and pick out one of those weird cordials or something with too many nuts in it, but it still tastes sweet.
Top Tracks: “Novice”; “Alien Boyfriend”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)