- Two Angels
- Do You Feel Guilty?
- I Can See
- I'm Afraid You're Just Like Me
- You Shouldn't Have
- The Centre of Your Gravity
“My Little Experiment”
Released October 2001
Produced by Pinkie
The debut Pinkie release! And so the story begins with a cassette tape labeled "Pinkie My Little Experiment" arriving at the Planting Seeds' offices ca. 1999 with note from singer/songwriter/multi talented musician Alex Sharkey. What we heard was a wonderful batch of timeless pop music. Alex is 1/3 of the legendary Sarah Records band Brighter. The 7 song mini LP instantly became a fan favorite and kept the fans awaiting more.
Popmatters / 2001
Heartbreak, loneliness, feeling like an outcast in society... These themes
have no doubt filled a near-infinite number of recorded minutes, from the
first days of recorded music until now. But there's different ways of approaching
them. Sad music can be the most grueling thing you'll ever hear -- pretentious
as can be -- or it cause an indescribably, unbelievably physical emotional
reaction, bringing your heart up into your throat and sending shivers through
your bones. It's all in the words and delivery, in how heartfelt they seem.
It's a tricky business, how to express longing and emptiness without making
people want to slap you. Pinkie navigate it in the most gorgeous manner
on their seven-song My Little Experiment EP, using gentle pop-rock songs
to touch the dark secret feelings every person has.
In a way, melody is the key. Alex Sharkey, the vocalist/guitarist/songwriter who essentially is Pinkie, comes up with hooks that are so quietly awe-inspiring that they carry the song's emotions right into listeners with ease. Pinkie uses acoustic guitar, synthesizer (at times sounding like strings, other times like waves) and carefully delicate singing to put the melodies and words in an appropriately sweet context. The music is always as beautiful and as heartbreaking as the sentiment. The song "I'm Afraid You're Just Like Me" especially integrates melody right into the atmosphere, so the structure of the songs lifts in a sublime, pretty way.
Pinkie's version of sad music succeeds because it has a certain romance to it. Some groups, like the Smiths, for example, made sadness into romance -- they made dying together in a car crash sound like lovers' most perfect fate. Pinkie instead takes the sadness of life, and of human relationships, and matches it with an acknowledgement of the joy that comes through affection and connection. The hope behind every song is that someone will stick around to make life easier, to help make the loneliness disappear. The perspective is often resignation but never a reveling in sadness, never a glorification of gloom. The opening track, "Pantomime", gives a sense of feeling sorry for oneself, but also has that hope for love and attachment. A sentiment like "All I dram about is not being me" is matched with a romantic wish/promise: "If my arms could reach, I'd put them around you now / I'd dive into your eyes, what a way to drown."
If My Little Experiment sounds like it could just as well be from the late '80s or early '90s as from 2001, it's because Sharkey is continuing the sound his band Brighter played during that time period. That band, on the now widely revered British label Sarah Records, made magnificently honest and touching pop music. Now on his own, he's doing much the same with Pinkie, yet it doesn't feel like he's retreading or back-stepping. This sort of piercing, beautiful expression of feeling is timeless. It stands outside of trends or fads, and will have the same power decades from now as it does not.
Tasty (UK) #13 / December 2001
What can one say about Alex Sharkey apart from the fact that he's basically on a one man mission to save our children and set them sail of the fair ship POP! This mini-album for US indie, Planting Seeds Records, is, I guess meant as a taster for a new audience, but it contains enough gems to gain a release over here. Quite simply, there isn't a weak track to be seen, as Sharkey goes through his kitchen-sink, little boy lost soap operas as if it were second nature. And, hey, I think it actually IS! If I'm forced to pick the wheat from the chaff, then I'd say stand out tracks are the lilting 'Do You Feel Guilty' and 'I'm Afraid You're Just Like Me', but that's to be too fussy, for what we have here is 25 minutes of genius at work. Cherish it. - Sam
Amplifier / Issue 30, May - June 2002
"I wanted to create something simple, fragile, yet entirely genuine," Alex Sharkey says of Pinkie's new effort. And indeed, the ostensible one-man band (aided by a variety of "helpers") has succeeded. My Little Experiment is delicate and jangly, full of odes that tinkle wistfully around thicker, shoegazy vocals. The strumming pull of "Do You Feel Guilty?" is reminiscent of the Gin Blossums' "Til I Hear it From You" in both melody and theme, but not as mainstream. Such is the case with much of the album, which leans on subtle shadings. Pinkie's disc almost seems Billy Bragg-ish at times, given its guitar-and-the-truth heartbeat, but whereas Bragg usually rails againstthe crimes committed on a grander social scale, Pinkie's focus is more introspective and personal. Simple, fragile entirely genuine. - Sean Leary