Review: Sarpa Salpa – Before It Goes Dark

Prolific alt-pop quartet Sarpa Salpa’s new release ‘has real finesse’

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Words by Lewis Abbott

Alt-pop foursome Sarpa Salpa hail from Northampton, claiming influence from the likes of Foals, Tame Impala and Friendly Fires. The band create a brand of honest, uptempo sound and, at times, cryptic lyrics. Made up of George, Marcus, Ethan and Charlie, Sarpa Salpa have earned themselves a BBC Radio 1 Introducing Track of the Week for their ‘Casanova’ release. 

Their new track, ‘Before It Goes Dark’, has already gone dark, it would seem. Ominously gritty, it’s their best release yet, focusing on “the frustration of not being able to stop the inevitable”. The track has a prominent groove emanating from the guitar line, backed up by the heaven-shining synth sitting deeper. The vocal is strong, assured and melodic. The pre-chorus hooks you in for an almost White Lies-style chorus, displaying a touch of Eighties pop, like a confrontational ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’

The final chorus is super strong and the vocal shifts from collected to aggressive but still has real finesse. In the final 30 seconds or so I’m gently reminded of We Are Scientists, who have a special place in my heart. This one seems tailor-made for live shows, with dates upcoming in Luton, Portsmouth and a hometown Northampton show to see out 2019. I can hear ‘Before It Goes Dark’ being played at festivals up and down the country and beyond, which is perhaps why the boys have already racked up shows at The Big Feastival, Wilkestock and BBC Introducing Live, hitting a total of more than 60 shows and 20 festivals. This is a top tune from a great band.

See the band live:
26 Sept: Mercato Metropolitano, London
27 Sept: Kasbah, Coventry
29 Sept: Catlefest, Luton
02 Oct: The Horn - St. Albans
04 Oct: Voodoo Lounge, Stamford
05 Oct: Dials Festival, Portsmouth
17 Oct: Crauford Arms, Wolverton
19 Oct: The Edge - Luton
26 Oct: Warrington Live Bar, Warrington
02 Nov: Smokehouse, Ipswich
03 Nov: Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
09 Nov: The Jacaranda, Liverpool
14 Nov: Bears & Tales, Bedford (Acoustic)
15 Nov: Club 85, Hitchin
23 Nov: The Finsbury, London
29 Nov: The Blue Moon, Cambridge
27 Nov: The Roadmender, Northampton