Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from San Jose-based duo, Bright Tree Village. The Spark was released on May 12, 2023.

Bright Tree Village describe themselves as a “dad rock duo that is about more than just
playing old music”. Their songs are about taking care of people and looking out for those who feel marginalized. The Spark is a call-to-action song for anyone who feels like an outsider. We love that a friend of the band described their music as “self-help pop”, and after listening a couple of times, that’s exactly what we feel it is too! A great description!

The Spark begins with some strummed guitar and some lovely subtle and gentle percussion. A simple bass line joins the mix before the vocals come in. Vocally, this was impressive. There is just the right amount of gravel in the vocals to give them passion and deliver an earnest message.

Layered vocals join the mix in the choruses, providing a wall of sound, and an almost anthemic-like call to action. A heavy electric guitar joins at this point too, ensuring that the listener knows this is the highlight point for them to focus on (if they want to be singing along later in the song!)

Dropping back for that all-important second verse, The Spark maintains the listeners’ interest by adding in some gorgeously subtle piano incidentals.

A middle 8 builds impressively back into another chorus, with a repeated chorus to end where the backing vocals continue doing the same thing and the lead vocal riffs over the top, giving the lead vocalist a chance to display some impressive vocal gymnastics.

Dropping back to a repeated “we’re gonna be OK” line, this call-to-action song is just the right sentiment to make even the most marginalised feel that they have a place in the world.

Ideas from our ears

A boost around 80-85Hz could increase the fullness and ‘thump’ of the kick drum sound and a small cut around 200-210Hz would bring down a slight peak on the snare. A high shelf boost set around 4-5kHz would increase the overall brightness in the track but may also add more sibilance to the vocal so a cut back down around 11kHz would control that. Lastly, a light compressor/limiter with maybe 5dB of make-up gain would add more warmth as well as raising the overall volume. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

We all need some positivity in our life, and Bright Tree Village have squeezed as much as they can into this folky/rocky/slightly punky track. Sparks will put a smile on your face on the darkest of days.