Alain Johannes: Spark

Respected guitarist remembers his late love.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Arguably best known to rock fans as a major contributor to Queens Of The Stone Age and latterly Them Crooked Vultures, Johnannes’s debut solo album finds him commemorating his late partner Natasha Shneider with whom he first worked as far back as 1987.

The eight songs of Spark were written after her death from cancer in 2008, mostly during breaks while recording with the Vultures, and form an affecting tribute to a lifelong love. The opening Endless Eyes, first played by QOTSA at a benefit show just weeks after Natasha succumbed to her illness, sets the tone; Johannes rattles out a dextrous acoustic rhythm accompanied by a lyric celebrating his soul mate’s passion and humour.

Spider and Gentle Ghosts continue the sonic formula of frantic folk rock with disarmingly honest words which, although written with one specific person in mind, will surely provide succour to anyone experiencing bereavement.

Terry Staunton was a senior editor at NME for ten years before joined the founding editorial team of Uncut. Now freelance, specialising in music, film and television, his work has appeared in Classic Rock, The Times, Vox, Jack, Record Collector, Creem, The Village Voice, Hot Press, Sour Mash, Get Rhythm, Uncut DVD, When Saturday Comes, DVD World, Radio Times and on the website Music365.