Indigo Sparke - Hysteria
A sweeping and swooning return from Australian song-writer, Indigo Sparke.
“To be at the edge, at the precipice of anything, requires deep surrender. It’s like dying over and over again. In the tidal throes of life at its fullest and most intense is the space where grace and strength is fortified and cultivated, is what I am learning” Indigo Sparke ruminates on her magnetic second full-length album Hysteria, a huge and beautiful sweeping work, one that possesses a rare, reflective power. From the first few notes, in the first song, Blue, something chilling and captivating pierces straight into the listener’s chest. With harmonies reminiscent of the voices in our heads, she examines love, loss, grief, a newly realised rage, her history, dreams, and the emotional weather patterns surrounding those sensations: her words tell the stories, and the sounds act them out. It’s a diary built for big stages. ‘Hysteria’ arrives just a year after her striking, minimalist debut, Echo. Here though, Sparke offers an expansive body of work—it’s a simultaneously nostalgic yet clear and complex collection that expands her sound and outlook.
This is music that sounds huge even as it zooms in on the trials and turmoils of one’s inner life, from the pulsing immediacy of “Infinity Honey” to the soaring “God Is a Woman’s Name” or the towering chorus on “Hold On.” You can hear Sparke reflecting on reconciliation, grief, hope, and the passage of time on the perpetually building “Pressure in My Chest” and the airy, Joni Mitchell-esque title track, which finds her embracing a gorgeous upper register over gently strummed guitar.
To Sparke, Hysteria is reflective of the growth she’s experienced over the last many years—to the point where, in her words, it almost presents a different artistic perspective entirely. “I feel like I matured a lot in this epoch of expression,” she explains. “When you are alone in the dark, you see yourself more clearly. I realised a lot of my behaviour and patterns living at edge states. The edge of hope, sorrow, joy, etc. I was at the axis point inside of love right at the edge of a place that had been a home of hysteria for me in the
past. Since this reckoning I’ve been determined to find a sense of surrender in the chaos. An unwavering trust and faith. And a will to remain kind and calm and patient with myself so that I can move towards embodying grace more and more. It’s the only way to
survive for me now. So there’s a deeper acceptance of who I am and what’s made me, me. I think in the process of all of this somewhere along the road I quietly became a woman and now I don’t feel as fragile as I once did, or now, I accept the wild inner landscape of myself and my history and it gives me a different kind of strength to work from.”
While the world that Sparke inhabits is a rich tapestry of sound that pulls the listener into circular spaces of seemingly never ending minimalistic textures and harmonic suspensions, what’s most clearly on display is her voice and her song forms. Deceptively simple structures wind like labyrinths in a whirlwind of lyrical expression and vocal pageantry calling to mind the early works of PJ Harvey, Meredith Monk, and the like. These compositions are a warm invitation into her world
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