It’s time to return to my review of Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, the L.A.-based rock band whose eight singles have inhabited my ear space for the last couple of months.
When I listen to and review an album, the goal is to understand the music as a whole piece, rather than a critique.
I reviewed Spare Parts for Broken Hearts’ first for singles a few weeks ago. Today we’ll listen to the back four.
Previous post: Spare Parts for Broken Hearts – Songs that Stick to My Brain part 1
“You’re softer / When we collide“
Gentle acoustic strums open “Pleasure Delay”, paired with lead singer Sarah Green’s off-kilter verses. The sound steadily builds with rhythm guitar and then drums.
Then the chorus hits with atmospheric sound–crashing cymbals, heavy chords, and eerie vocal tracks from Green behind the lyrics: “I could really show you something / I could be your one and only”
This song is a plea, perhaps for connection, but with a darker self-awareness, or maybe an admission: “But if you’re gonna die would you do it for me”.
“Take my hand and watch it burn”
“Say When” opens with a kind of slurring verse that seems to be directed at a former significant other. The music treads forward inexorably to a wailing chorus of old wounds: “Say when / Tell me you don’t want me then you hurt me just to stick around”.
In the second verse, the music quiets to a walking bass line and light drums, but Green’s vocals retain the anguish: “Take my hand and watch it burn / Oh I am shaking / From the love I can’t return”.
As in the first crop of songs from my previous post, “Say When” exemplifies Spare Parts for Broken Hearts’ ability to embody diverse and often conflicting emotional tones between songs, within songs, or even within a single verse.
“Build a bridge / Burn it down together”
“Mush” is the first song I ever heard by this group, and I was immediately struck by the weighty post-grunge overtones and Green’s ability to take her voice from warm and breezy to a full-throated gale and back in an instant.
I’m counting this entry as two songs, because the acoustic version of “Mush” is just as poignant as the full-band version. If someone had shown me the acoustic version first and told me it was the original, I would have believed them.
The authenticity of Spare Parts for Broken Hearts’ music is what resonates with me. It feels real, and even when the tones of the music seem to contradict the anguished lyrics, that contradiction feels intentional.
It makes listening to these songs a layered experience, even after the tenth or twentieth time.