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spark chaos
Artist: Spark!
Title: Chaos
Genre: EBM / Synth-Pop
Release Date: 13th December 2019
Label: Progress Productions


Album Review

After the turn of a year it’s quite hip to make charts and top 10s of the year. For anyone remotely interested in EBM, ‘Chaos’ by Swedish duo was the last entry for the “album of the year” category. And if you wonder why our review comes one month late: We’ve been blown away by it! ;-)

SPARK! pride themselves that they bring catchiness to EBM, or back to EBM if you prefer. Not that there’s never been catchiness in Electronic Body Music. NITZER EBB and FRONT 242, the forefathers and pioneers of this genre, had quite a few catchy songs. Then there is Future Pop, an EBM offshoot after all, with trailblazers COVENANT, VNV NATION and APOPTYGMA BERZERK who certainly always have had a knack for catchy hooks. And think of fellow Swedes and Star Trek aficionados S.P.O.C.K and Steve Naghavi’s AND ONE, two acts who were never afraid to marry EBM with Pop.

Well, as it turns out Christer Hermodsson, keyboarder and singer of SPARK!, was involved with those two bands at some point or other. And when you check his discography you’re going to find out that Hermodsson was certainly no newbie when he started in SPARK! but rather had many years of experience as a songwriter, producer and live musician under the belt. And all this experience pays off! ‘Chaos’ is album number six for SPARK! and arguably their best effort to date. Hermodsson’s dynamic singing style combined with the production finesse of mastermind and SPARK! founder Mattias Ziessow is a perfect match, as ‘Chaos’ proves.

So what about the catchiness SPARK! proudly claim for themselves? They were not lying, to say the least, and to fans who’ve followed them over the years this is no surprise. SPARK! merge hard-edge electronics with irresistible dance grooves and shameless Pop hooks like no other. And it’s pure, straight EBM, not just somewhat edgier Synth Pop. You might call it Electronic Body Pop if AND ONE didn’t claim this moniker for themselves years ago. But where AND ONE’s Stevie Naghavi tried to be all too clever and funny at times, SPARK! prove to have balls of steel. No time for nursery rhymes, all songs on ‘Chaos’ are absolutely in-your-face but at the same time the arrangements are so smart and astute that the results are super-effective.

However, if you wanna sing along some knowledge of the Swedish language might help as most of the lyrics are in this tongue. There also lyrics in English, e.g. the lead single ‘Cause and Effect’, and also some in German like the title track. Although it’s a little weird to listen to a song about being naked in the light of a PowerPoint presentation in front of the board of directors of a company, I have to say as a native speaker.

But it doesn’t matter which language SPARK! use, it’s the singing which make a true difference. It’s the second SPARK! album with Christer Hermodsson as the lead singer, after founding member and shouter Stefan Brorsson left the band in 2015. With him on the microphone and Mattias Ziessow’s synth work and tight arrangements SPARK! found a new identity which doesn’t deny its EBM roots but is at the same time so incredibly catchy that the songs might as well work outside the scene - in a mainstream context, to be precise. That SPARK! is a barnstorming live act which can turn any crowd into a frantic, jumping mass is certainly another plus here.

If there’s one thing to complain about ‘Chaos’ it’s probably the lack of variety. If you look for ballad break or a more introspective moment you will find none. It’s just nine songs and a wild ride from start to finish, from the instant hit ‘Släpp in mig’ to ‘Två Mot En’, which was released as a strictly limited 7” vinyl single in 2018 already, to the stomping album closer ‘Klara färdiga gå’. Truth is that ‘Chaos’ doesn’t need any breaks, it’s a relentless high-energy party short of 40 minutes and perfect as it is.


Tracklist

01. Släpp in mig
02. Jag vet vad du vill
03. Chaos
04. Två mot en
05. Cause and Effect
06. DNA
07. Snabbare och högre
08. Stålgrå himmel
09. Klara färdiga gå


Line-up

Christer Hermodsson
Mattias Ziessow


Website

https://www.facebook.com/sparksomfan/


Cover Picture

spark chaos


Rating

Music: 9.5
Sound: 9
Total: 9.8 / 10




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