In 2002, Dare had set up his own studio, the VIP Lounge, in Penzance, Cornwall, UK. The bulk of Sparks Lane was actually written and recorded there in the five days that Marty had between All About Eve gigs. Dare then worked on adding additional instruments and arrangements over the next few months. Because we had approached songwriting with a clean slate, with no limitations on the kind of material we would write, the album was extremely eclectic and we became a band that was impossible to pidgeonhole. It is a sophisticated record, featuring the moody My Museum and the poptastic High As A Kite, the hit that never was (although according to Chilean radio it was No. 1 in 1980), the experimental Ask Again and the Space Rock Que’est-ce Que C’est. The cover art by the late Greg Daville was composite images put together to form an unlikely reality. The device featured in the picture is called an orrery and is a real thing – a working mechanical model of our solar system. The title has no connection to the picture, it was simply the name of one of the roads in Thingwall that connected our parents’ houses to each other when we were growing up as teenagers on the Wirral. It seemed appropriate as this was our first writing collaboration since our school band in the early seventies. We were called Opal Butterfly and were influenced by the more Progressive bands of the day, then in the late seventies we had a New Wave band called The True 100’s named after a cigarette. Later I discovered that the name Opal Butterfly was already taken but for some reason The True 100’s name is still available?
“The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper and producer Dare Mason team up as singer/songwriter/performers in this band called Noctorum. It is a dream-pop unit that much resembles the stuff that we used to hear from The Church, except the sound is updated for the 00s. All these songs are enjoyable, crisp, and atmospheric. No amateurish shenanigans ’round these parts! A few of these songs are really excellent, the best is easily High As A Kite which sounds exactly as the name suggests. Holds together strongly as an album. From start to finish, I am entranced by it. Nice!!”
(Michael Lawrence, Don Ignacio’s Music Reviews)