Hailing from the bright neon lights of Music City comes the invigorating sound of Americana rock band, Borrowed Sparks, who as of today officially released their fiery new live EP, The Smoakstack Sessions.
Recorded at The Smoakstack in Nashville, the 4-track EP offers three original Borrowed Sparks tunes, along with the Tom Petty classic, “Refugee,” which concludes the brief but hard-driving album.
Formed and fronted by rocker and songwriter Mike Bay, the band garners influences ranging from Petty, The Gaslight Anthem, Frank Turner, Counting Crows, and more. Bay has pursued his sonic vision with an affinity for Americana storytelling and the simmering angst of punk rock- a most unique combination.
The opening track to The Smoakstack Sessions kicks off with a bang of pop punk-rock energy the band is known for with “Are You Listening.” As noted above, the sound also displays a tinge of heartland rock, too, which offers a more broad appeal. The driving energy is electric, and is a thrill ride of an introduction to the album.
The sophomore track and February single, “Marie’s Dress,” was definitely a standout. With its more laid-back but still electric sound, it’s a change of pace from the opening song, and highlights the band’s songwriting and melodious instrumentation. The music in this track favors more 90s rock-oriented bands like The Goo Goo Dolls, Oasis, and the like. The riffs and chorus are as catchy as any in this track.
With “Patron Saint” following, the group seems to take influence from Bruce Springsteen and The Lumineers in this more mellow folksy track, especially in terms of the storytelling lyricism. Highlights of the song include the organ entrance at the end of the first chorus, the dramatic cymbal crashes accentuating Bay’s vocals, and the bridge and post bridge guitar solo. It’s a welcomed slow burn of a tune, again which focuses more on Bay’s delicate lyrics.
As The Smoakstack Sessions comes to a close, Borrowed Sparks does an epic send off with their cover of Petty’s massive hit song, “Refugee.” The band does the song justice, and adds their own subtle charm to the classic. The thrilling pre-chorus and chorus hit like a ton of bricks, and the stacked harmonious background vocals shine. The organ in this song is another notable highlight. All in all, it’s an electrifying way to end The Smoakstack Sessions.
Borrowed Sparks offers a little something for lovers of rock and roll, and possesses all the energy and charm one wants out of a band. Keep these guys on your radar.