Sparklehorse - It's A Wonderful Life 12 inch
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Along with the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse crafts strangely beautiful -- and beautifully strange -- music inspired by down-to-earth sounds as well as spacey experimentalism. But where the Lips are lovably loopy and Mercury Rev is arty and wry, Sparklehorse wraps deep-seated, often uncomfortable emotions in layers of metaphors and static. However, the group's third album, It's a Wonderful Life, is its most open and direct work yet. Whether this has anything to do with the fact that this is reportedly singer/songwriter Mark Linkous' first substance-free work is arguable, but regardless, it's a noticeably more focused effort.