Just to be clear, this is the second album from a Danish synth-pop duo not an LP from the Indonesian vocal girl group of the same name. This ‘Sparkling’ are Carsten Mørch-Bentzen (vox) and Jens Christian Madsen (synths) from Copenhagen.
While the rest of us are deep into the 21st Century, these two are seemingly stuck in the 1980s. The track Blossom Blood is described as having ”echoes of Simple Minds and A Flock Of Seagulls with its reflective 80’s tinge”. These are not positive reference points in my book and further claims that Flashlight Heart has ”a soaring Bono-esque vocal” does little to win me over to their cause.
To be honest, it sounds more like late period Bowie with Now I’m None revealing more than a passing resemblance to ‘The Stars Are Out Tonight’.
This impression is compounded when they tap into their inner spaceman in Fractions with the repeated refrain “The stars are shining bright, so take me back to earth”. Confusingly, however, the song is meant to be a reflection on the aging process. This explains the curious video that accompanies the track depicting two respectable elderly couples having a meal together before they setting up a home disco and dancing to a vinyl copy of ‘Felonious’.
Aside from the Mørch-Bentzen and Madsen, the sound is enhanced with a number of adept Danish backing musicians with the jazz sax motifs of Jesper Løvdal being the most significant contribution.
While it’s all very efficient and inoffensive it lacks sparkle or originality.