The Sprinkle brothers are back! If you don’t know who that is, then stop reading. Go and find Poor Old Lu, The World Inside, Aaron Sprinkle, Paloma, Fair . . . I could go on but I’m using up valuable reviewing space (and I didn’t even mention the production credits)! Considering who is involved in this project, you might think you already know what it’s going to sound like. And sure, you might be in the right ballpark—alternative/indie rock with a capital Rock. But you haven’t heard this. Aaron tackles the vocals (in addition to guitars, keys and other bits) and he’s never sounded better. But man, the riffs are where it’s at. From the first opening notes of track 1, you’re sucked in, and it only gets better with repeated listens. And the masterful Jesse is back in the saddle on drums (as well as some BGVs). They even produced it themselves. Well, Aaron, that is. But if you’ve followed his work over the past 3 decades, that won’t be a surprise.
EP1 is a bit harder too than other efforts the pair have worked on. The only thing harder I’m aware of either of them doing is when Jesse was working with Demon Hunter and/or Dead Poetic. This is a far cry from metal, but fans of melodic indie rock will have lots to appreciate here. It doesn’t sound like anyone in particular, but there are delightful nods to Silversun Pickups, Smashing Pumpkins, The Vaccines, Arctic Monkeys, etc. And of course, fans of Poor Old Lu will find plenty to love here, but gone are any of the funky undertones from that outfit, and Aaron’s clean singing fits the music really well here, whereas Scott Hunter’s slight rasp worked well in that context.
One of the most delightfully puzzling things about this EP is how ridiculously 90s the music sounds, and yet how the production values are so much better than so much of what was put out in that decade. Still, it manages never to sound overproduced. The mixing is pretty much perfect, and all the instruments blend really well. Perfect example here is “Hungry Ghost,” which has a very slight stoner metal vibe (actually more than one song has that Black Sabbath filtered through the Arctic Monkeys kind of sound) without ever actually crossing over into heavy metal. But the real beauty is how all the instruments blend together—which is particularly impressive seeing that the band is only the two brothers. How they managed to record and track this in such a cohesive manner is simply testament to how long they’ve been doing music together—although somewhat ironically this is their first project together since 2002’s Waiting Room—and how well-honed they are in their craft(s).
The only question left is, will there be a follow-up?