Recorded live on a European radio station, this brief EP documents a different side of melancholy singer-songwriter Frankie Sparo. What makes this session different is the addition of A Silver Mt. Zion as his backing band. The EP includes three re-workings of songs from Sparo’s My Red Scare, and in each case ASMZ’s accompaniment fleshes out the songs. “Here Comes the Future” is the best of the batch, accumulating in a ragged exchange between violin and guitar that perfectly sums up the album’s sinister mood. On “The Night That We Stayed In,” Sparo takes more of a direct approach, with delicate guitar and stand-up bass providing the simple backbone for the track.
The Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting,” is given a skeletal guitar-only treatment by Sparo. “Diminish Me NYC” has a similarly sparse arrangement.
Running at under 20 minutes, Arena certainly whets the appetite for a full collision between Sparo’s minimalist folk and ASMZ’s avant-garde improvisation.
Archived article by Ed Howard