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"Luby Sparks"

by Kristina Livingston - Executive Editor
Tue, Feb 6th 2018 11:05 pm

In my quest to settle upon an album deserving of a stellar review for The Stylus this week, I scrolled through brand new indie releases and decided to delve into the unfamiliar territory of Luby Sparks. With a meager 6,928 Spotify subscribers, I quickly caught myself up to speed on the group – particularly intrigued by this release being its first album, and that the band is based in Tokyo. Right off the bat, the band brings you an authentic live sound. It’s clear the group has crucial chemistry, heard most especially through the old-school grunge-vibe the drummer and lead guitarist have clearly cultivated.

An immediate and unfortunate criticism that may affect how the album is received by those who, like me, may be intrigued with an underground indie release, is the imbalance between the vocals and instrumentation. If more focus had been lent to what the band itself has to say, there is no doubt that the overall sound would be more cohesive. While the live sound began as a strength, it ultimately makes the album suffer quite a bit. There are plenty of artists who have cultivated sounds which make their lyrics difficult to hear, but I’m not sure it works as well as Luby Sparks hoped on their debut. 

First albums can be rough, and the important thing here is that Luby Sparks didn’t totally bomb it, and ended up somewhere in the middle. My favorite track here is “Still Awake”, a dreamy bop that calls to mind that perfect feeling of coming to consciousness slowly on your day off when you have absolutely nowhere to be. Luby Sparks has underplayed strengths which are overshadowed by the curse of a debut with a tracklisting  that has little sound diversity. The airy, indie pop-girl voice and stellar instrumentation are both there – it’s up to them to solidify this sound. It should be noted that the group tends to switch up vocalists, although seemingly favoring the female counterpart. 

Unfortunately, I could find no information online about Luby Sparks’ members – but whoever the male vocalist is, cut him a bigger piece of the pie next time and let him shine just as much, something he gets to do a fair bit in the album’s closing track, “Before You Dive”.

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