The live music capital of the world, Austin, is once again becoming quite the hotbed of up and coming artists. While many music fans continue to go bananas over What Made Milwaukee Famous, I have been enjoying the debut EP from The Lovely Sparrows. Their organic pop-folk songs are warm and intelligent, making for the perfect soundtrack as we slowly watch the leaves change colors with the arrival of autumn.
The Lovely Sparrows were formed last year by singer/songwriter Shawn Jones and longtime friend Jason Cooper. Since the release of their first 7" single, "Take Off Your Hats You Godless Bastards," they have added a few more musicians and instruments to their arsenal, including Lauryn Steinburg (vocals, mandolin, flute) and Earl Vallery (drums, keyboards). With the new and improved lineup, the band has created Pulling Up Floors, Pouring On (New) Paint, a fantastic five-song introduction to a very promising Texan group.
The EP begins with "Chemicals Change," an upbeat acoustic guitar and piano driven tune that has the feeling of an early track from Badly Drawn Boy. Perhaps it is the flute or the timbre of Jones' voice, but I definitely get a Damon Gough vibe from this, with just a tiny hint of southern twang. This is followed by "Your Flowers Will Bloom," a delicate song with very subtle percussion, using little more than jingle bells and cymbals until the end, when the drum kit kicks in with a surprisingly Nada Surf / The Shins flavored conclusion.
"The War has Seen The Best Of Me" is comprised of acoustic guitars, piano and finger snaps, bringing to mind the unique percussive sounds of Adem's Love And Other Planets. The Lovely Sparrows' music is much more straight forward than his, but their choice of organic sounds bring him to mind. The EP concludes with "Let's Watch The Tourists," their most cinematic moment on the release. They play with the formula of soft to loud within the art-folk realm, making for a beautifully climactic ending to the record.
The Lovely Sparrows may fall into the category of pop-folk, art-folk or however you want to classify them, but they have enough catchy melodies and intriguing stories to pull in any fan of good music. The EP is filled with lush yet intimate arrangements, making for one of the best listens you will have this fall.