Ned Botwood - 31st July 2019

Are you ready for the next chapter? It’s a steamy one. Kevin Phillips introduces us to another generation of the Sparks family, in Part IV of his transcendent family tragedy.

Earlier this year, Phillips and The Lumineers began an ambitious visual album: a 10 part drama following three generations of an American family. In a whirlwind trilogy of videos, we met Gloria Sparks, a reckless alcoholic and reluctant matriarch. The character was inspired by a family member of frontman Wesley Schultz, and brought to life in furious glory by Anna Cordell. The trilogy was grand, wittily experimental, and quietly (but often loudly!) devastating.

In It Wasn’t Easy To Be Happy For You, we meet her teenage grandson, Junior Sparks. And he meets a girl. Or does he? In a remote field, he shares a joint with a beautiful stranger and gets in his car with her. The temperature rises a little too quickly. And as she walks away into the middle-of-nowhere, removing her vest, we see a strange symmetry between this stranger and Junior’s grandmother.

The youngest member of the Sparks clan is a curious character, portrayed with bumbling, Chaplin-esque discomfort by Charlie Tahn. He will make two more appearances in Leader Of The Landslide and Left For Denver, released later this month.

Phillips and The Lumineers set themselves an formidable task with the Sparks story. And thank god they did. A project of this size and ambition could have lost steam very quickly. But there hasn’t been a dud in the bunch. Both the band and director continue to innovate their respective forms, and in the process, surprise and delight.

Credits

Production designerDavid Storm
DirectorKevin Phillips
Production CompanyNeighborhood Watch
Executive ProducerRichard Peete
ProducerMax Knies
Director of PhotographyWyatt Garfield
Executive ProducerTraci Carlson
Lead actorCharlie Tahn
Lead actorEmily Kimbal
Make-up (Cast)Jessica Needham
Costume designerElizabeth Warn
EditorEd Yonaitis

Ned Botwood - 31st July 2019

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