Sparky to play album release show on Saturday, Sept 13 at Amigos
Update: We’ve been informed that the album is actually titled “#Humanimation” – sorry for any confusion.
Sparky, a long-running Saskatoon group, has just revealed the single “Neat Mission” in advance of their upcoming full-length album #Humanimation. The band will be officially dropping the album at their release party show on Saturday, Sept 13 at Amigos alongside openers Willeum and Ave Sol.
And it’s about time – it’s been eight years since the band released their last album, 2006’s Brutish Pina. But during that time Sparky has significantly tightened their already razor-sharp sound, both live and in the studio.
On “Neat Mission” the band alternates between enigmatic and crushing, adding textured layers of vocals and machine gun drum rolls along with a persistent, driving guitar line. But while Sparky has always managed to straddle the line between chaotic complexity and melodic grooviness, Humanimation – which was recorded at Suntemple Studios and engineered at Toneshift Audio – sees the band relentlessly burrowing into new sounds.
“Some songs were written as a total group effort or during jam sessions where others were crafted in isolation and then layered,” says the band in a group email. “The change has come pretty naturally and gradually. Our hair may be thinning, but the music is getting thicker.
“It’s more mature, but still silly,” they continue. “This album has been a departure from previous releases in that there are no cat sounds on this record. I don’t think Nealz even mentions a cat on this one.”
In addition to the new album, Sparky is also celebrating their thirteenth year as a group, which currently includes Chris Douglas, Neal Garand, Jon Cey and Graham Templeman. Having formed in the fall of 2001, the band has embarked on multiple tours across Canada, including a stint in the US, and has made an appearance at the 2012 Calgary Metal Fest and at all five editions of the sorely-missed Georgestock festival.
“We’ve been fortunate to share stages with some really cool bands over the years,” says the band. “One show that sticks out is a show we played with Lamb of God. They had an off date from their tour with Metallica, and had booked a smaller show, and Sparky was recommended for the bill and we got added last minute to this show alongside The Sword. The Lamb of God dudes were sweeties and even rocked out on the side of the stage during our set. And we played a show with Soulfly last year who had a big influence on us in the beginning.
“The best is every show where you have that one person, or more, in the crowd who you make a connection with and who is losing their mind out there. That’s what we do it for. Playing and connecting.”
Of course, it hasn’t been without a few hiccups along the way. Amidst tour vans breaking down in some remote parts of the country, and the subsequent losses of getting said vehicle fixed, Sparky has experienced the full range of shows as a heavy band who has played across the prairies numerous times.
“One nugget of wisdom we’ve picked up over the years is that anything goes in Prince Albert. Anything.”
But it hasn’t all been amazing – then again what else would you expect from playing a gig at a Cheesetoast restaurant in North Battleford circa 2003?
“The manager hired us on the recommendation of a local metalhead without ever hearing our music for himself. They asked us to turn it down as there was a wedding party in the next room.
“We never got invited back,” laments the band.
In addition to the album release party, Sparky has their eyes set on hitting the road once again, with tentative plans to hit the west coast.
“We’re talking about it, but there are balls, babies, bands and bursaries in the air at the moment.”
Along with the new single, Sparky has also released a teaser video for the album release, which was shot by Matthew Garand. The best part, aside from the obvious fun of being an adult going down a wacky slide meant for children, is the tiny dog that makes an appearance in the bottom left corner of the shot. Cute overload.
Also, because the featured image doesn’t exactly do it justice, here is the full view of Sparky’s press photo, which might be one of the best band shots I’ve seen in a long time.