When a band or artist releases an album containing just six tracks, it usually means that each track is going to take an age to listen to, or that the overall result is so amazing it leaves the listener crying out for more. Danish duo Sparkling’s latest offering does neither. Felonious, released on 23rd April 2019, is their second album; they have only released one album and EP since 2002 so they are hardly prolific, another reason why some bands release shorter albums.
That’s not to say it’s a bad album. Fans of 80s electro-pop will like this, and may even find hints of A-Ha and The Human League not well hidden the sparse contributions (not just because of singer Carsten Mørch-Bentzen’s sounding like Morten Harket), but even after several plays, nothing really sticks in the mind.
The opening track, also released as a single, ‘Say Goodbye to the Ragged Tiger’, (which I don’t think has anything to do with the Duran Duran album, despite the sound) sets up the album nicely playing on the 80s feel and where Mørch-Bentsen shows off his vocal range. The next track, ‘Blossom Blood’ sounds more like New Order, but not quite reaching their level of genius. It’s still, on a personal level, the highlight of this album, having a slightly edgier sound. The latest single, ‘Fractions’, is okay but the rhyming lyrics feel a bit forced, and so a bit of a distraction.
Rather than leaving the listener on a high, the final song, title track ‘Felonious’, is hard work. Starting off stripped back in an attempt to sound brooding, it drags its way to the midway point when it finally kicks in before drifting back off again, leaving one feeling a bit ‘meh’.
It’s hard to describe the effects after listening to Felonious. It is a listenable album, on the whole, but it’s not memorable. I certainly didn’t develop any earworms after listening to it, and although I could identify tracks if I heard them, I can’t remember how any of them go a few hours after listening. If you’re looking for something innovative and cutting edge, this is not it. If, however, you like electro-pop and fancy trying something new, you might not be totally overwhelmed, but you won’t be disappointed.