Black And Gold
Everything about Sam Sparro, on the surface, compels one to hate him. For one thing, there’s that bloody awful name spelling. For another, there’s the fact that he has the single worst logo ever – a bird flying into the final ‘O’, which would be bad enough even if it was a sparrow. My money’s on a mistle thrush or one of the other medium-sized songbirds. And then there’s his absurd teenager-in-front-of-the-mirror-style attempt at Liam Gallagher indifference on the cover – an expression so eminently punchable you’d wish photographs could bleed.
Thankfully, we here at NME never judge the man on his logo alone – Lord knows we’ve got into trouble for it in the past – and Sam proves that he is a Sparro of dazzling plumage when it comes to verbose, intelligent, nuanced electro. Musically, ‘Black And Gold’ would sit very comfortably on Goldfrapp’s first album with its spidery, skittering synths and synthetic drums. But it’s Sam’s delivery that ices this decidedly curious cake – he comes on with the honeyed delivery of a 1980s house vocalist, but the lyrics he’s delivering are equal parts pain (“If you’re not really here/I don’t want to be either”) and prehistoric hallucination, as he manages to work the very dawn of life on Earth itself into a love song. Which certainly shows that he’s not lacking in ambition.
There’s a Russ Chimes remix too, for all you Russ Chimes fans (hey, there must be some of you), which turns the song into a simultaneously daft yet fantastic funk latin house epic. All in all, Sam can be filed next to the likes of Ali Love and Neon Neon in the ‘ever so slightly arch but fundamentally classicist electro-pop’ bracket and warmly welcomed into both your heart and dancefloor butt. Now all he has to do is fire his label’s graphic artist and come up with a new logo and world domination could be his.