The Sparrow

The Sparrow

James Milne—a.k.a. Lawrence Arabia—has a colorful pop background, having been an integral member of bands like Ruby Suns and The Brunettes before starting this project back in 2006. The third album by Lawrence Arabia opens with “Traveling Shoes,” a softly swinging, jaunty tune rife with sweet strings and plucked guitars. It's steeped in a late-‘50s pop style and recalls “Apple Pie Bed” from 2010’s Chant Darling (a song that won a APRA Silver Scroll Award). It sounds like something Dion could have released a half-century ago, and it’s but one style filtered into this heady mix of intelligent, fresh-sounding pop. Equally charming and captivating are the tip-toeing pianos, warm brass, and Milne’s airy falsetto on “Lick Your Wounds,” the somber, Lennon-esque tones of “Bicycle Racing,” and the dark cynicism and humor of the seductive “The Bisexual.” Artful moments, like “Dessau Rag” (“Schönberg or a Bauhaus band playing ragtime,” according to Milne) and the beautifully dark “Early Kneecappings” stand incomparably alone as pop originals. Recommended for anyone who appreciates the extraordinary songcraft of artists like Rufus Wainwright or Stephin Merritt.


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