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Coin Toss - EP

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Album Review

The dirty little secret behind Radiohead's success is that they found a way to make prog rock hip again, and now thousands of young people around the world are following their lead in this rather dubious bit of cultural revisionism. Birmingham, Alabama's Through the Sparks are one such group of prog-minded kids, though thankfully they haven't used Thom Yorke and his pals as a template, or gone back to the form's tiresome '70s roots. Through the Sparks' first release is a six-song EP, Coin Toss, which throws in a healthy amount of psychedelic mind-meld on top of songs that suggest the more tuneful moments of Pink Floyd and Genesis filtered through the Flaming Lips (without their aggressive weirdness-for-its-own-sake) and Wilco (without the keen amelodic sense or edgy adventure of Jeff Tweedy). Essentially this boils down to trippy music for smart people who probably don't think of themselves as hippies, and while the formula may not sound immediately appealing, Through the Sparks actually manage to pull it off. Jody Nelson's lead vocals are strong enough to cut through the fact his lyrics don't always make sense, while fellow guitarists and keyboardists James Brangle and Nikolaus Mimikakis layer their sheets of sounds with imagination and solid craft, and bassist Greg Slamen and drummer Thomas Mimikakis hold the framework together with smarts and easy confidence. There are also a few okay tunes here, most notably "Squatters" and "Tooth and Nail," and even the disc's failed experiments are too well executed to casually dismiss. Through the Sparks are a band with talent and imagination, though it's hard to say if it would help or hurt if someone introduced them to Hawkwind.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Conjuring up clouds of sound that blend elements of prog rock, psychedelia, and indie rock, Birmingham, AL's Through the Sparks began life in 2003 as a side project for guitarist Nikolaus Mimikakis, his percussionist brother Thomas Mimikakis, and bassist Greg Slamen, who at the time were working with John Paul Keith in his band Stateside. They had already begun recording songs as Through the Sparks when Keith decided to fold Stateside, so Slamen and the Mimikakis brothers simply refocused their attention...
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Coin Toss - EP, Through the Sparks
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