The Colors of ‘Something Like Light’

The Colors of ‘Something Like Light’

Adriana SaboFriday,30 January 2015

“Come with the Sponges as they take you on a bright and colourful journey, with music that will have you falling over with laughter, floating on waves of sadness, and climbing trees of elation.”

This is how My Fellow Sponges explain what they do. The band is based in Galway, Ireland and they play some truly great, lovely music, inspired by folk tunes, pop melodies and just a pinch of jazz-like treatment of rhythm. My Fellow Sponges is a six piece band–Donal McConnon (vocals, banjo, guitar, harmonica, clarinet), Anna Mullarkey (vocals, piano, bodhran, ukelele, harmonium), David Shaughnessy (Percussion), Elva Carrol (vocals), Hazel Collins (cello), Sam Wright (bass)–and the amazing colorfulness of their music stems in the first place form these different instruments that are combined in very interesting ways. The first album they issued appeared in 2013–titled Bonne Nuit–and it showed many different faces of these six people. Among the ten tracks, you could find those that are joyful, sad, meditative, and bouncy, as well as naive in some moments. In the time that has passed since Bonne Nuit, and since Something Like Light appeared in November, the band has come a long way in terms of creativity, technical abilities, production and maturity. Something Like Light is in fact an EP, comprised out of four songs, each of which can be seen as one color on the painter’s palette. The shorter formats sit better with My Fellow Sponges. They say so much more with Something Like Light than they managed to do in Bonne Nuit.

The thing that adds special flavor to the music of My Fellow Sponges is that the vocal part is divided between Donal, Anna and Elva, whose voices mix perfectly. Supported by such instruments as the clarinet, cello, ukelele or harmonium, the sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities of painting with music. “Floating” is the opening track of Something Like Light. It’s a happy, bouncy track that lightly flows in syncopated rhythms that give it a jazzy feel. Guitar, piano and cello play the most prominent role in this song, ensuring the mix of happy and a thoughtful (sometimes even sad) atmospheres. As “Floating” comes to a sudden stop, “Cold Winter Begins” in a completely different mood. This is a strong, emotional song, made up of arpeggios in the piano, long, heavy tones held by the cello and a soft, delicate vocal line. The voices of Anna and Elva are truly beautiful and sound made for this kid of music. “We all Need” is another positive track, bringing to mind the green fields and blue skies most people think about when they imagine Ireland’s landscape. The closing track, “Other Than Myself,” brings even more exposure to the piano and is a truly fit culmination to the album. Grandiose, it introduces a bit more of Ireland’s folk music elements. It is completely overwhelming and it will most definitely not leave you indifferent.

The music that My Fellow Sponges created for Something Like Light has so many layers and so much depth that it all can’t be described in one review, nor can you hear everything by listening to the EP only once. With Something Like Light, this band shows just how serious they are about their art, and so, I end this review with hope that more bands like My Fellow Sponges are hiding somewhere in plain sight. And that these guys will keep up the great work!

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Hat Tips:

Bandcamp, Facebook, YouTube, Image Credit: Flickr


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