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Super Sparkle ‘Shines Through’ with bright, upbeat new EP

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 17, 2020

Super Sparkle’s new EP is titled “Shine Through.”  (Justin Frick)
Super Sparkle’s new EP is titled “Shine Through.” (Justin Frick)
By Johnathan Curley The Spokesman-Review

Local music collective Super Sparkle is a band with a sound deserving of its name. Across their latest EP “Shine Through,” released Dec. 4, the group recalls the brightest moments of the pop canon that lit up the radio from the late 1970s to ’80s, from singer-songwriter reflections and irresistible disco rhythms to bluesy decrees with modern pop touches.

“I feel like it’s all over the place,” guitarist-vocalist Scott Ingersoll, aka solo artist Scott Ryan, says of the band’s influences. “It’s fun to kind of think through. We had a lot of conversations about stuff that influenced us as we were starting the band, which was a lot of retro pop and soul music.”

Those inspirations come alive in the crystalline guitars that echo the riff of the Four Tops’ “Can’t Help Myself” in “Nothing Without You,” the sizzling strings of “Dark Horizon” that would be right at home in the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack and the Beatles-sized finale of the album’s title track.

“It’s just nice to hear it as one cohesive thing and being able to appreciate everybody’s contributions and performances and things that maybe you didn’t completely catch as you were in the midst of tracking,” says Ryan, looking back on the album.

“Shine Through” also features performances from keyboardist/vocalist Max Harnishfeger, guitarist/vocalist Karli Ingersoll, bassist Adrian Saludes, drummer Claire Fieberg, saxophonist Caleb Brown and Bryan Bogue on percussion and vibraphone.

As the group’s latest release since 2018 single “Business” and the last studio effort since their 2017 debut “Songs Out the Window,” “Shine Through” stands as a more consistently sunny and surprisingly moody musical collage.

Album opener “Party of One” channels the playful complexity of Paul Simon, “Break Free” summons the bluesier moments of Chris Stapleton with sincerity as if it’s being transmitted from the stage of your favorite dive bar, and the driving piano, raunchy guitar breaks and commanding chorus of “Take It or Leave It” all but hint at Hall & Oates.

For Ryan, what’s been more significant than honoring the groups’ inspirations is giving their long-standing fans a recorded account of songs that have only been live favorites up until now. “It was kind of fun recording these songs because some of them have been mainstays in our live set for quite a while, and we’re very much a live band.”

Beyond the music itself, the timing of the record’s release is especially poignant, with song subjects of togetherness and reconnection coming along at a time where isolation has only been met with more isolation.

And that’s probably one of the reasons why the album works as well as it does. While the roads outside are frozen over, and the skies cast a consistent gray gloom, the speakers tell a different story. And it just might even make you want to dance a little.

“If you’re going to come and see us play, we want to transport people to basically somewhere else where you can enjoy yourself and dance and feel that freedom,” Ryan says. “Hopefully, as people are listening, they’re able to experience some of that even if they’re just dancing in their kitchen at their house.

“That’s always a huge goal is to just really bring some light and some joy with these songs.”

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