Birmingham prog-pop band Through the Sparks spend the bulk of their debut LP Lazarus Beach
establishing a mood of gentle dread, by bringing the breezy, studio-crafted style of ’70s AM into contact with a DIY psychedelia tradition that dates back to the late ’60s. The album opens with “L. Roi,” a chipper-sounding song built on bouncy piano, background “la la la”s and sweetly sentimental brass. But the lyrics tell a
different story, focusing on disrepair and unease. “You could tell everything wasn’t quite right,” lead vocalist Jody Nelson sings, and Through the Sparks proceed to delineate just how not-right everything is, even as they make music as warm and swinging as the organ-stoked Steely Dan homage “Mexico (Every Last Buffalo).” On Lazarus Beach
’s penultimate song, “The Final If and When,” Nelson sings in ragged echo about a place “where nobody ever goes at night,” and though the sentiments are dark and the faintly trippy production disquieting, the band still makes the music bright and even cheery, as though urging everyone to join in for one big apocalyptic sing-along. Through the Sparks used a ’94 Gibson J-100 Anniversary Edition, an Epiphone J-160E, an Epiphone J-160, and an Epiphone Bluesmaster on this recording.