May 2007 - Soundcheck Magazine (by Michael Schmitt)

Praise the Twilight Sparrow is an act misted in delicious mystery and intrigue. Playing in the strain of “any truth teller” and imitating the sound of “self-made mythologies,” the DIY vibe practically gushes from the band. Made up of a fluctuating number of members from nations as diverse as France, the Netherlands, and the U.S., the group’s sextet core comes from Europe and most recently ripped out their other-worldly folk at SXSW. The Texas music-fest is no new ground for Praise the Twilight Sparrow either, the Dutch members played there in 2003 under the guise of Templo Diez, and then at CMJ 2006.  Indeed, while Praise the Twilight Sparrow is a new name on the indie scene, the faces behind the getup are well-worn veterans. That quality can be felt on their first EP, a forerunner to a promised full-length later in the year. The four-track self-titled EP is graced with eerie spoken vocals, pacing about in the backdrop of ghostly acoustic instrumentation. Pascal Hallibert’s calmly seducing vocals are the perfect crown to Praise the Twilight Sparrow’s style, singing in a near-breakdown cantillation. Even the acoustic twangs in the opening track “Get There If You Can” ring with an ethereal smack, spinning about Hallibert’s half-drunken lyrics. The intergalactic quality of the instrumentation remind one of Brightback Morning Light, which share the dreamy, half-dazed effect Praise the Twilight Sparrow use so brilliantly. A lo-fi, Mountain Goats-like recording style is revisited in “The Ghost Tonight”, which opens with an Armageddon-spewing preacher before descending into melancholy acoustic rhythms. “South of No North” and “On Our Way” close the EP, the former more straight-edged country/American tracks in which Hallibert sounds more focused, the latter an acid-trip in itself. Deliciously dark – like an acoustic Pink Floyd hiding a body in the closet – Praise the Twilight Sparrow pull the listener in with the grimy mystique of their sound. Polished enough to hold meaning, yet rough enough to entice the DIY-lovers (and allow much room for improvement), this hodge-podge of European and American artists have crafted something dazzlingly beautiful. If Praise the Twilight Sparrow can further evolve upon this sound, their upcoming full-length will be a must-own of 2007.

Michael Schmitt