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Sparklehorse / Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain

01-Nov-2006 12:53 am Contributed by: pete Music Reviews
12 Track CD
Copyright © 2006 Capitol Records Inc. or on MySpace
Listen Listen to Don't Take My Sunshine Away
Enema Rating:

Sparklehorse is effectively Mark Linkous, whose last full-length album, It's A Wonderful Life, was released in 2001. Now, just over 5 years later, Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain has been added to the Sparklehorse catalogue, an even longer title than his debut album Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. Is the title of the new album a reflection of how Linkous felt during the past five years? Since 2001, Linkous admits to getting into a bad state of depression due to a number of factors, including 9/11, that caused him to spend approximately 3 years in a paralysing vortex of nothingness.

Depression is not new territory for Linkous, who partially crippled himself 10 years ago by mixing valium and antidepressants and passing out in a position such that all circulation was cut-off to his legs for over 14 hours. Linkous used his recovery as material for the 1999 release Good Morning Spider as well as It's A Wonderful Life. It appears that his recent bout with depression became the inspiration for this new album, a fact that I find a little depressing in itself.

The album starts out with a few good hooks in Don't Take My Sunshine Away. The lyrics for this song are almost entirely strange and unique, except the actual chorus, which, as you might expect, pleads "please don't take my sunshine away". Throughout the song Linkous sings in a hollow, high-pitched, low volume voice, starting out with "your face is like the sun sinking into the ocean", and then progressing to other similes such as "like Christmas bulbs that I swallowed" in the second verse. With only 45 seconds left in the track, the music takes a quick detour through Flaming Lips territory - a completely enjoyable deviation.

Linkous has always shared some affinity Californian bands such as Grandaddy and his music contains pop melodies reminiscent of The Beatles, but with Dreamt For Light Years I also hear similarities to bands like the American Analog Set with their hypnotic guitars. Stand-out tracks on this album include the previously mentioned Don't Take My Sunshine Away as well as Shade And Honey and Mountains with its fuzzed-out guitar. The CD finishes with the title track, a 10 minute instrumental that, in some ways, reminds me of early acid-inspired Pink Floyd. It uses a spaced out repeating electronic bleep to set the very slow pace, and instead of building up to a crescendo, it continues along the path of sleepiness until music itself fades away and you're left with one last bleep before being left alone. Alone and dreaming in the belly of a mountain.


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