Gothic American folk music from Glasgow's Sparrow & The Workshop
July 8, 2013 9:28 PM   Subscribe

The first thing you notice about Glasgow trio Sparrow & The Workshop is how unGlaswegian they sound. That's mostly down to lead singer Jill O'Sullivan, [Belfast-born, Chicago-raised] with a Joni Mitchell-via-Nashville voice, a stunning instrument that often justifies the price of admission on its own. When she sings about the devil, darkness and violence, fever, rapture and fear, it's the old American west she evokes, not Glasgow's West End. Behind the voice is a rhythm section that's not afraid to step forward: baritone harmony vocals; pounding drums, clicks and whips; pained, plaintive and passionate folk-rock melodies. That's from the Clash Music review of Crystals Fall (Grooveshark stream), the debut from the trio.

They have since released two more albums, Spitting Daggers (Grooveshark):
It's shorter, and somehow more intimate than its predecessor, in which they sounded big and expansive, and a larger band than they are. Here, O'Sullivan's voice is often accompanied by little else than shuffling drums and reserved guitars, but at other points the drums pound and the crunch is turned up on the guitar, and electric organs join the party, and the tone changes. It feels like they've scaled things back a little bit, but it's not to their detriment at all, it just produces a slightly different sound.
Most recently, they've released their third album, Murderopolis. Jill O'Sullivan talked through the album, track by track, with This Is Fake DIY, where the album is also available to stream by way of Soundcloud.

If you want more Sparrow & The Workshop, they have 20 videos on YouTube, and you can see more of their discography on Discogs.
posted by filthy light thief (3 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
This looks like I would love them. One free MP3 somewhere on their site (did not find one) would go a long way towards liberating my debit card from my wallet.
posted by Danf at 8:05 AM on July 9, 2013

I've been listening to this all day on Spotify. Thanks!
posted by natabat at 3:05 PM on July 9, 2013

Anyone who's around/able to get to Edinburgh on Thursday evening, they're playing a free show at The Caves
posted by nailest at 7:59 AM on July 10, 2013

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