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For Your Consideration: Sparkadia

Posted by August 18th, 2009 No Comments »

For Your Consideration; A Column About Music Down Under  
O Mercy/Gin Wigmore/Sparkadia @ The Zoo
By Sam George-Allen

There are some new kids on the pop-rock scene down here, and I was lucky enough to go to a show at that old favourite, the Zoo, a couple of weeks ago. Sydney four-piece Sparkadia are gathering acclaim for their new album Postcards that hit the stands in May, a great set of dancy indie-pop numbers produced by Ben Hillier. I liked the album, and was keen to see how the band measured up live.

They got off to a good start with excellent supporters, local cool kids O Mercy’s bouncy Split Enz-esque indie-rock and Auckland native Gin Wigmore’s gravelly soul ballads getting the crowd all worked up. Props must also be awarded for a cunning choice of pre-show filler music: the local dance they pumped during the set-up meant the atmosphere was jumping before they even walked on.

Sparkadia singer-guitarist Alex Burnett, the core of the band, delivered his well-crafted pop tunes with enthusiasm and skill. His voice is gorgeous, and the harmonies supplied by bassist Nick Rabone and rhythm-guitarist Tiffany Preece supported him beautifully. I had issues with the rest of the show, though. For one thing, guys: look alive! No-one wants to watch a band who looks like they’d rather be somewhere else. Also, maybe invest in a better sound guy. Tiffany’s guitar and mic were barely on, and when she brought out an accordion, my cry of delight quickly turned to one of dismay – I couldn’t hear it at all! Combine that disappointment with the outrage (in my opinion) of using a backing track to fill in the piano part, and a fair chunk of Sparkadia’s live cred went down the toilet.

But I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t dancing. The sheer pop quality of Alex’s songs is undeniable, and because of that, I’m still going to recommend Sparkadia. My advice is this: if you dig a good indie guitar riff, like your tunes catchy and danceable, and get off on sweet-as harmonies, Sparkadia are the band for you. Check out “Too Much to Do” and “jealousy” – my favourites – as long as you don’t expect too much from them live, I’m sure it’ll be the start of a beautiful partnershi

Sam George-Allen lives in Brisbane, Australia. When she’s not learning all the words to the Drones’ new album, she studies writing and anthropology at the University of Queensland and gives people chocolates for money. Look for her column periodically on

Learn more about Sparkadia at


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