Sparralimb (is that not a great name?) is the musical brainchild of British songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rick Whitehead. Based in Lincoln, England, the creative and busy artist has been involved in a number of other projects, including post-rock band Plains of Silence, alt-rock band The Saboteurs (who I’ve previously written about and are now on hiatus), and now defunct rock band Tripswitch. As Sparralimb, he’s released several singles over the past five years, but became more active beginning this past May with the release of his single “Too Far Gone”, featuring vocals by Jamie Armstrong, a fellow former member of Tripswitch. He’s since followed with three more singles, the latest of which is “Little Agonies“, which officially drops on all music streaming sites October 31st.
Drawing inspiration from the music of The Cure, Deftones and Tool, in “Little Agonies”, Sparralimb has created a darkly beautiful alternative rock song with strong progressive elements. The song once again features vocals by Armstrong, as well as bass performed by Geoff Standeven, Whitehead’s bandmate in both Plains of Silence and Saboteurs. Standeven’s gorgeous pulsating bassline provides a moody foundation for the track, over which Whitehead layers an intoxicating mix of chiming and droning guitars, accompanied by subtle otherworldly synths and looped drum fills. It all makes for a magnificent and mesmerizing soundscape for Armstrong’s haunting whispered vocals that are at once both beautiful and chilling.
The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous, but seem to speak of coming out of a hellish period of mourning over a lost love, or possibly a lost band:
It's a cold day and the fiery gates open my way It's a cold day yet the smoke blocks my way I'm tired... My fear floats away It's a cool day my thoughts of you just fade away It's a cool day just a memory of warmer days My fear floats away Hands of glass holding lies, holding sands of time Wake me up let me know that I'm still alive
The rather surreal video, filmed in black and white and edited by Sparralimb, shows a man’s hands in several configurations, such as extended with sad face emojis on each fingertip, tapping out the beat, or clasped together, mimicking a person’s mouth singing the lyrics.