Sacred Bones · February 19, 2021
On Echo, Indigo Sparke takes you by the hand and leads you into a secret hiding spot. With an acoustic guitar, soft tambourine, and a lonely piano as the main accompaniments, the album feels relaxed and dreamy. Yet there’s a profound sadness in each track. Indigo Sparke’s heavy lyrics cut into the breathy, atmospheric voice she sings them with. “Colourblind” feels similar to Mazzy Star’s “Fade into You,” both in sound and in theme. Both songs romantically tell of a longing, Sparke speaking of the liminal love she desires that might never happen. She achingly describes a painful distance between two people, as one waits for the other to reveal their truth in feelings. It’s the stage of ambiguity in a relationship, but Sparke never advances past it. She continues to wait for this truth, as patiently as ever.
The track “Undone” feels like a confession, a call for help, wrapped in a blanket. The gentle strum of the acoustic guitar, the soft touch of a piano, and Sparke’s delicate voice create the ambience of someone about to be undone, only held by the thread of someone she loves. “Carnival” feels even more undone, with lyrics of yearning, wanting, and a voice spiraling out, getting more desperate for her lover as the song progresses.
“Bad Dreams” stands out as the most haunting song on the album. Sparke’s voice continues to be atmospheric, but the lyrics “You broke all of my ribs in a dream the other night / You said you were not hurting me, just trying to hold me tight” snag the mind, sink the heart. Sparke’s voice trailing off with the fast plucking of the guitar forms the feeling of a bad dream: a hazy upset.
It seems almost an impossibility that these lyrics could feel gentle, yet Sparke’s voice lays them carefully over the hazy acoustic and cerebral sounds. There’s something necessary that lives within this dichotomy. Would these lyrics feel so heavy if not for the lightness of the sound? Could a message sound so loud if it was not whispered? Sparke’s voice draws you in, begs you to listen. The brilliance lies within its persuasion: Sparke convinces you into deep intimacy, then she pours these lyrics into you. In “Everything Everything,” she speaks “Everything, everything is dying / Everyone, everyone is dying.” She punctuates both the song and the album with these words, ending it on an ode to death, a passing thought of truth that encapsulates the tenderness of Echo itself.
From its beginning, Indigo Sparke slows you down, carries you into a quieter spot. Echo is a beautiful debut album, a collection of thoughts and poetic tellings. The hope for Sparke is that she continues this purity, letting her voice speak the honesty of these lyrics in its rawest form. The poetry of each song deserves that kind of care.
Listen to Echo: