I miss watching The Adventures of Pete and Pete. I think I even cried the day that Artie, “the strongest man in the world,” had to be sent away and leave his Little Viking, Pete, in Wellsville. My first introduction to Iggy Pop was also courtesy of that show, an event that eventually developed into a mild obsession with the man. My attraction to the Petes was undaunting and strange, and to this day, I’m not quite sure why. I still get a silly feeling every time I think about how much I miss something as mundane as a kid’s show on Nickelodeon. Listening to Sparkwood’s third release, Jalopy Pop, reminded me of the first time I watched my beloved Pete and Pete.
Sparkwood’s sonic blend of pure happiness, strange sound effects and basic pop formulation creates an odd-shaped pill that’s a little hard to swallow. Jalopy Pop opens with a strange phone call, leaping into the loopy and child-like “Miles Away,” a happy, flipped out track, which the remaining 11 songs dutifully follow. The album as a whole feels much like a seven-year-old’s birthday party at Funtastic Fun: oddly entertaining, but uncomfortably inappropriate. Perplexing bit still interesting, Sparkwood goes deep into the world of ridiculous keyboard sound effects, but often fall short because the tracks drag on long past their prime.
Overall, Sparkwood shows a lot of heart and soul, but songs like “Ready for the Day” and “Emergency” lack individuality. The overuse of sound effects give Jalopy Pop a circus-like feel, and the closing track, “3 Words,” is 13 minutes too long, and consists of nothing but solid ridiculousness. The only thing that I think could make this album better was if I could just get Sparkwood to cover the Pete and Pete theme song “Hey Sandy” by Polaris.