My Red Scare

Frankie Sparo


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2004, Constellation

The thrilling and mysterious debut by Frankie Sparo is a dark and deconstructed affair, featuring lots of angular guitar, skittish electronics, and a throaty voice offering up the finest lyrical turns of phrase we've heard in a long while. "My Red Scare" is redolent with film noir atmosphere; vaguely sinister and paranoid at times, smoky and languid at others, the whole record exudes oblique intimacy and the unique sensibility of a true auteur.

Recorded mostly in single takes, "My Red Scare" documents a diverse batch of songs. With arrangement help from various musicians within the Constellation circle, the pieces range from spare acoustic guitar accompaniment to electric guitar and beatbox collisions to full-on orchestrations for strings and organ/percussion. Frankie channels jazz and blues influences through his own inimitable sense of suspension and phrasing, full of deep breaths and pregnant pauses. At every point, the music is at the service of Mr. Sparo's strange and subtle poetic voice; brilliant couplets slide off the tongue, revealing a discriminating eye turned with clinical attention towards the secret hopes and fears of lives at the margins of social dysfunction and disarray. Frankie sings about mild betrayals, nagging neuroses, humble defiance borne of alienation & insecurity, the thrill and chill of insignificance, and the battle between empathy and antipathy that accompanies our efforts to break through isolation and loneliness. His tone can initially seem dispassionately ironic, but gradually gives way to a deeper sincerity as the songs sink in.


Disc 1
1 Bastard Heart
2 My Stunning Debut
3 Diminish Me NYC
4 Citizen's Farewell
5 Novak Again
6 Loneliest Mademoiselle
7 Send for Me
8 This Side of Her
9 If You're Fancy Free
10 Here Comes the Future
11 Night That We Stayed In

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