“Sparrow Song” – Acrylics

As with the Joan As Police Woman song above, here is another composition in which the guitar makes a late entrance, but with an entirely different vibe and effect.

“Sparrow Song” quickly establishes itself in dream pop land, with layers of glistening keyboards and synthesizers, reverbed female vocals, and a stately 4/4 beat that supports both the faster-paced melody of the verse and the slower, more expansive and harmonically-layered chorus. And yet there, in the midst of this shimmering soundscape, what’s that we hear at 2:20 but…a guitar. And not just any guitar, and certainly not the kind of processed, Cocteau Twins-like guitar sound that typically propels this dreamy kind of music. Nope, what we have here is a mellow electric guitar that sounds unassuming and organic as it plays the chorus melody in an easy-going lower register. Note how it then finds itself placing notes in an around a swirling vocal-like sound that might be a voice or might be synthetic. And how this type of ’70s-like guitar seems to have no business here—and yet it entirely does. “Sparrow Song” is deeper and richer for its presence.

Acrylics (as with Eurythmics, no “the”) is the duo of Molly Shea and Jason Klauber. They have been playing music together in one form or another since meeting at Oberlin College in the mid-’00s. Acrylics was started in Brooklyn in 2008. “Sparrow Song,” which features Caroline Polachek, from the group Chairlift, on backing vocals, is a track from the album Lives and Treasures, released this week on Friendly Fire Recordings, in conjunction with Hot Sand Records. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the lead. MP3 via Stereogum; it won’t show up in the media player here but click on the song title and you’ll get the download.