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    A Aardvark

    [engl] Sparrow Steeple are a band out of time. Featuring three original members of Philadelphia’s legendary Strapping Fieldhands (Bob Dickie, Jacy Webster, and Jeff Werner), Sparrow Steeple continue down the path laid out by their peculiar muse -- “future pastoral” (as an early Strapping single declared). The follow-up to last year’s critically-lauded debut LP: Steeple Two, A Aardvark is a five-song 12” EP that belies its modest first impression. Sparrow Steeple balance their innate sense of majestic melody with the small-scale drama of everyday life. “Candy Apple Kid” is a perfect blend of twinkling folk-rock and searing garage-rock, two time- tested forms that rest comfortably in Sparrow Steeple’s hands. “Crank Of Awnings” is both a result of, and a remedy to, your hangover; try and wipe the melancholy from your weary eyes, it seems to be crying out. The first side closes out with “Frank N’ Cliff,” a character sketch spiced up with mouth-harp and sweet lashings of wah-wah guitar. Side Two of A Aardvark sprawls out a bit more with the lyrically-biting but sonicallysmeared “Rancher’s Standoff.” Here, Sparrow Steeple are tending to a heretofore unknown parcel of land that is hosting a psychedelic campfire singalong featuring both Bardo Pond and The Carter Family. Closing out this perfectly succinct 12” on Ever/Never Records, Sparrow Steeple slowly ratchet up the urgency of their grammatically- challenged title track. “A Aardvark” fades out as sounds of the river mesh with subtle wisps of surrealistic feedback and a man talking on a loudspeaker. Here then is the pastoral future. -e/n

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