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Edward Rogers - Sparkle Lane

Zip Records, February 2, 2010

bySam Frank

Edward Rogers, Sparkle LaneIn Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking Glass Alice wonders what life is like on the other side of a mirror. Following her curiousity Alice enters the mirror where she discovers a vast world of unanswered questions and paradoxes that actually exists within herself. Her journey is one of self-discovery, an introspective look at her own reflection, and on his newest album, Sparkle Lane, Edward Rogers gives you an inside view of the looking glass he walked through on his way to wonderland." Sparkle Lane is a street in England where my grandmother lived," Rogers explains. "The concrete was mixed with pieces of broken glass, so when I was a kid and I'd go to my grandmother's house in the evening, the street would always look like it was sparkling. That's how life felt to me as a kid. And there was so much going on in England at the time; the music scene was happening and London was swinging, so England was where I wanted to be. So when I got to America, it was a major culture shock. The food and TV were a lot better, but I still felt uprooted," and the opening song, "Symbols 'N' Mascots" uses lyrics like "Relics in my mind from a century I left behind," to capture the emotional displacement. While songs like the album's title track and "Boys In Grey" delve deeper into a past Rogers reconnects with other songs take you in the opposite direction. "Walk Under the Clouds" is a diatribe about people who carry "the weight of the world" on their shoulders. People who secretly live in fear and "can't afford to let them see you walking slow." Listening to this gives you the sense that at one point in his life Rogers was (or may still be) this kind of person. Other songs that tap into this frequency are "Original Excess Boy," a story about a selfish boy who "used people like toys," and the captivating "Last of the Artful Dodger," a beautifully crafted orchestration which includes violins and sitars. Sonically reminiscent of The Beatles' "Blue Jay Way," "Last of the Artful Dodger" plays like an open letter to all the mis-guided souls who are "going down the wrong path, further than before." Lyrics like "I'm trying to be the last of the artful dodgers" and "Can there never be a stop to our behavior" come off like words of wisdom from an experienced veteran of this lifestyle. "This record is a lot more me than anything I've done before, because of the nature of the songs and because of the way it was recorded," Rogers notes. "That was intentional. It was important to me to push myself forward a little bit more. I wrote most of these songs on my own, and I really focused on getting them to be exactly what I wanted them to be." The finished product is a collections of soul-clenching songs that demonstrate how deep the rabbit hole can get. Rogers' honesty and vulnerability is what will entice you to dive in head first. "I'm motivated by the urge to make music and express myself, rather than by some abstract idea of being some kind of pop star, so I feel like I'm making music for the right reasons," Rogers asserts. "I feel like this record really reflects me, more than anything I've done before, so I feel like I've achieved what I set out to accomplish."