Noteworthy: Wednesday, April 18, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Sparkle*Jets U.K.

Bamboo Lounge (Smile Records)

By Adam Woodyard

About halfway through the debut disc from Sparkle*Jets U.K., the non-MTV-watching listener is lulled into a false sense of security, as if this c.d. were made specifically for him, what with all the toe-tapping, happy/anti-nihilistic little tracks like “It’s Gotta Happen” and “Hate Your Hair.” Let’s be honest, the whole c.d. is a lot of fun, pop music, not for the 18-24 demographic but for the one slightly older. But what starts out as a harmless offering for the adult-contemporary set fools you, musically and lyrically walking the fine line between mainstream country and the handiwork of the next “It” band likely to appear on a side stage at Warped Tour ’03. SJUK communicates a lot of good ideas here, but it’s just hard to tell who they think they’re talking to.

Where, then, can a band such as SJUK find a niche? Likely not with the MTV crowd; the mixed-drink recipes interspersed throughout the pages of lyrics in the c.d. jacket are obvious attempts at shutting out the under-21 folk. And not with the older crowd, because . . . well, why not with the older crowd? Since when is adult contemporary all Kenny G. and Michael Bolton? People born before Nixon took office could use a shot in the arm just as much as the rest of us. The lyrics waver between the terribly clever (“A Nice One,” “They Shoot Square Dancers, Don’t They?”) and the terribly not (sample lyric: “When I’m out of touch / My contributions to society don’t mean much / I listen to what my best friend tells me / And everything’s all right”). The hooks are catchy and the guitar solos competent, and nothing’s ever too, too loud. Vocalist Susan West seems to be having a lot more fun (and sounding more like a rock star) than alternate vocalist Michael Simmons, but just like any other good list of mixed drinks, there’s something here for everyone. If only the Warped people can find these guys before CMT does, there’s hope for us all.


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