"Sarah Veladora"

(IMOJ Records 2002)Sprawl - Sarah Veladora

The Canadian band Sprawl cites Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dandy Warhols and The Strokes as having a similar sound. However, those three bands sound rather different. Sprawl's sound can't be pinpointed to one band in particular. But you can hear tiny bits here and there of those three bands and more on Sprawl's release "Sarah Veladora."

Opening their album with "Bad Girl," a catchy and nice attention-grabber well worth some spins on the radio. "She's a bad girl/And I'm in love/ I hate myself/But it's not enough," vocalist Ralph Kircher sings. Kircher's vocals are of that whiny popish/modern rockish variety that is more strangely intriguing than obnoxious. With a strong and catchy riff, Sprawl bassist Matt Swift acts as the backbone to "Get Off," a catchy rock song with plenty of drums and a good rhythm that gets slow and almost trippy at one point. On "Obvious," meanwhile, the rhythm section pushes the song forward while the vocals have a slightly distorted, lazy sound.

"Faded" continues the lazy, laidback vocal style ("I'm dying but I feel fine," Kircher sings) and strong drumming but adds a simple but effective guitar riff to the chorus. The Dandy Warhols peek through on the "ah ah" parts of "Fluffer." With a decent melody, "Fluffer" is one of the less ambitious-sounding songs that comes off very well despite a certain predictability. "Star In The Basement" is the most ballad-like song you'll find on "Sarah Veladora" while the drawn out sound of the chorus of "Purposeful and Clean" is slightly clichéd.

The darker sounding "Feed Your Angel" stands out on the album. The resonating guitar and distorted vocals sliding all over create a funky and more original sound than previously heard on the release. The Strokes inspired sounding "Pink Lovestar" has a certain rigidity during the verses where the lyrics don't seem to match the rhythm. We see "Allright" return to a safer sounding Sprawl. The laid back melody is complimented towards the end by slide guitar to create a nice closer.

"Sarah Veladora" demonstrates Sprawl is obviously a musically sound bunch that just needs to tighten up their songs a bit. But their pop-edged rock is sure to be just the thing for some music fans.