[[caption-width-right:312:FaceOfTheBand, Mark Linkous]]
-> ''A horse''
-> ''A horse''
-> ''My kingdom for a horse''
-> ''Rattling on magnetic fields''
-> ''Yes I did use up''
-> ''The last box of sparklers''
-> ''Before they went bad''
-> ''Got wet or decayed''

Sparklehorse was a Lo-fi AlternativeRock / [[AlternativeCountry Country]] band from America, led by Mark Linkous (note that when we say "led", we mean "[[IAmTheBand the one consistent member of the band]]" - all his albums featured appearances from other musicians in various roles, but none stayed on for good). A man of many talents, he was the lead singer, songwriter, and played a great variety of instruments, including guitar, piano, harmonium and drum machine.

Sparklehorse released their first album, the mouthful ''Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot'', in 1995 to largely good reception (with Sparklehorse remaining critical darlings ever since). The album, recorded with help from the band Cracker, set the band's melancholic tone, but was followed shortly afterwards by the near-death of Mark Linkous due to a drug overdose. His recovery in St Mary's hospital left him without the use of his legs for 6 months - even afterwards, they never quite regained their original strength. Despite these setbacks, in 1998 Sparklehorse released their second album, ''Good Morning Spider'', with several songs inspired by Linkous' brush with death (though he claimed most of them had actually been written before this).

2001 saw the release of the far more collaborative album, ''It's a Wonderful Life'', reported to be Linkous' first substance-free production (as well as his most "normal" to date, with a notable lack of [[NightmareFuel unsettling songs]] [[MinisculeRocking less than a minute long]]). Following this was a 5-year hiatus, at the end of which ''Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain'' was released (the title track being his longest song, at a whopping [[EpicRocking 10:35 minutes]], though it was a relaxing, melancholy track true to the band's usual style). The band's last album was ''Dark Night of the Soul'' - featuring appearances from many different guest vocalists - originally recorded (and released on the internet) in 2009, but only officially released in 2010 due to legal difficulties. Sadly, 2010 was also the year of Mark Linkous' [[AuthorExistenceFailure suicide]] - he shot himself in the heart, without leaving a suicide note. As such, ''Dark Night of the Soul'' was dedicated to his memory.

!!This band and their music provide examples of:

* AcclaimedFlop: Every album.
* {{Ambient}}: Several examples in their repertoire, such as Good Morning Spider's title track.
* AlternativeRock
* AuthorAppeal: Believe it or not, horses get numerous mentions in Sparklehorse's lyrics, among other things like oceans, dogs, pianos, ghosts, and birds.
* BalladOfX: Of a Cold Lost Marble, in fact.
* BrokenRecord: 850 Double Pumper Holley, 850 Double Pumper Holley, 850 Double Pumper Holley...
* CallBack: One of the songs in ''Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot'' ([[EpicRocking Cow]], to be precise) mentions the "Queen of Nails". In ''It's a Wonderful Life'', there is an entire song called "King of Nails".
* ConceptAlbum: Pain (physical or otherwise) is a frequently recurring theme in ''Dark Night of the Soul''.
* DreamPop
* EldritchAbomination: According to ''See the Light'', "The Golden Crows" are this.
* EpicRocking / MinisculeRocking: Sparklehorse's songs run the gamut, from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Oddly, the trend seems to be that the longer a song is, the more relaxing and quiet it'll be.
* EyeScream: A theme quite frequently found in the band's lyrics.
* FadingIntoTheNextSong: Cruel Sun -> All Night Home. Also, Cow -> Little Bastard Choo Choo.
* FakeOutFadeOut: Sunshine.
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: Grim Augury, fittingly.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The song Rainmaker brings up a "Spirit Ditch" - the next song is called "Spirit Ditch".
* HiddenTrack: Morning Hollow, on ''It's a Wonderful Life''.
* IAmTheBand: The first two albums were written and recorded almost entirely by Mark Linkous himself, on his Virginia farm.
* MinimalisticCoverArt: A few of their albums, most notably [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_yXdZEpPC11k/TT8OgICjyzI/AAAAAAAAAH0/IEPf_PQYivY/s400/sparklehorse-good-morning-spider.jpg Good Morning Spider.]] Also, [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Dark_Night_Final.jpg Dark Night of the Soul]].
* MoodWhiplash: Frequently happens on their albums. Example: Good Morning Spider's first track is the punky, explicit Pig. The second track is the dark, melancholy Painbirds.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''It's a Wonderful Life'', to an extent.
* NonAppearingTitle
* PerishingAltRockVoice
* RevolvingDoorBand
* SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll: Linkous' near-death due to drugs.
* ShoutOut: To Music/{{REM}}, from the looks of things, in ''Pain'':
--> Justice, religion, and success are fake
--> And the shiny people stink
** And to Music/NeilYoung's "After The Gold Rush" (and possibly ''Series/TwinPeaks'') in "Spirit Ditch."
-->[[OminousOwl The owls]] have been talking to me
-->But I'm sworn to secrecy
-->I woke up in a burned-out basement
** As well as Music/DanielJohnston in "Someday I Will Treat You Good".
-->Everything that's made is made to decay
* SpecialGuest: ''It's A Wonderful Life'' has Music/TomWaits, Music/PJHarvey, Nina Persson of Music/TheCardigans, Vic Chesnutt and Dave Fridmann. ''Dark Night Of The Soul'' is entirely based on this, with guest spots from [[Music/TheStooges IggyPop]], Music/SuzanneVega, Music/DangerMouse, Creator/DavidLynch, [[Music/ThePixies Black Francis]], The Music/FlamingLips...
* WordSaladLyrics: Oh so much.
-->[[color:white: in the silver morning hollow]]
-->[[color:white: trembling and getting old]]
-->[[color:white: smelling burnt oil of heaven]]
-->[[color:white: about ten years, too big to hold]]