Continuing on from the release of single Take It Back in 2013, Spark has followed up with debut EP First. Hailing from London’s east end, Spark has conjured up a set of songs showcasing her unique writing style, delivering three standout tracks to put her in line for a British breakthrough this year.
Written and arranged alone, First demonstrates the ability of a songwriter who believes in what they are doing, and why they are doing it. Having split from label 679 Recordings in 2010 citing creative differences, Spark has self-released her debut offering, enabling her to make music that means something to her, filling her own vision of what she believes her music to be about.
Opener Vain immediately sets the tone for the EP. This is all about the vocals and Spark definitely knows how to use hers. Within seconds, you are lost in a mirage of layers upon layers of catchy harmonies, bouncing from wall to wall. A subtle piano holds a minimalist note here and there to keep things in line, but it’s the clever arrangement and sheer amount of vocal work that give this number its stripes. However one cant help but feel a solid drum beat behind this could have worked wonders and really turned this song into something big. Hear Me Out and previously released single Take It Back takes us into ballad territory, but Spark’s clever lyrical melodies keep things interesting. With influences such as Eminem and Jay-Z, its clear she has a way with words. The clever production process comes into play again, especially on Take It Back, creating a vast soundscape using only vocals and a lowly piano. It’s a modern take on an old tried and tested genre, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Lyrically, First is raw, brutally honest and heartfelt. “So hear me out, I bleed, I grieve and I fall to my knees, like you…I’m human too”. It’s an introspective and reflective listen and you definitely feel you’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster by the end of things.
Overall it’s a thoughtful, catchy and very worthwhile listen, and if this EP is anything to go by Spark is without doubt in for a big future. Hopefully that will bring similar clever arrangements and the use of her voice, but perhaps with a full band to back her up. For now though, it’s a strong debut effort.