Release Date: Feb 19, 2021
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The Sydney-based singer-songwriter Indigo Sparke makes the kind of spare folk that can quiet a room. Circumstances being what they are, she hasn't had the opportunity to quiet very many. Last year, though, she was joined by a kindred artist, someone else who does not have to raise their voice to command attention. A few songs into her March 2020 performance at NPR's Tiny Desk, Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker sauntered out.
Freshly signed to the Sacred Bones roster, her full-length debut Echo finds the Sydney-born artist trailing through a thirty-minute passage of sprawling desert soundscapes, the bare bones sparsity of 2016 EP Nightbloom remaining ever-present while flaunting the ethereal joint production involvement of Big Thief 's Adrianne Lenker and collaborator Andrew Sarlo. Sporting a rough-hewn heart shared with contemporary indie folk flag-bearers such as Katy Kirby , Sparke's Australian roots are wholly eclipsed by dyed-in-the-wool Americana, an attachment to highway-strewn vistas recently reinforced by a road trip she undertook through New York, Minneapolis, Topanga and Taos. With a continent-hopping recording process - divided between NYC, Italy and Los Angeles - Sparke's compass is one sourced out of a nomadic impulse, a wandering that is at its most prominent on tracks such as "Colourblind" in its south-western inflections and "Dog Bark Echo", which retreats further into the lunar-laced terrain of coyotes and tumbleweeds - an unembellished affinity with nature reflected in its stark, spoken-word poeticism.
They say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and whether Australian songwriter Indigo Sparke is destined to a star-crossed fate or not, her own given name certainly invokes the mood for her Sacred Bones debut. Much like the image on the cover, Echo 's landscapes are stark, desolate, and hostile to those who wander through. At the album's darkest, Starke doubles down on tracks like "Bad Dreams," where ominous signs of "blood on my horizon" foretell of a soured relationship and are accompanied by a finger-picked swirl of psychedelic notes.