In light of their return to the spotlight thanks to the Edgar Wright documentary and their long-time fans rising in force, Sparks have finally enjoyed the appreciation they deserve after over 50 years since their debut.
With over 26 studio records to boot, with each tackling a new sound/idea/concept, getting into them can be quite daunting. But we can safely say that 1974’s ‘Kimono My House’ is the perfect place to start. It’s bombastic, glamorous and eccentric to the highest degree. It shows Sparks as a dynamic act that moves from hard rock into the early shapes of glam rock with impeccable style.
Opener ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us’ is a cornerstone and a top three Sparks song, but the album has far more to offer beyond it. The waltzing rhythms of ‘Falling In Love With Myself Again’ and its balladry to self-infatuation is a subtle jab at the egomania of the era. ‘Here In Heaven’ acts as a precursor to their 1979 epic collaboration with Giorgio Moroder ’No.1 In Heaven’, which we’d say is the next logical step in the Sparks catalogue beyond this masterpiece.
The record bounces lyrically across endless anxieties and existentialisms as beautifully sung by Russell Mael’s signature falsetto, and across the album almost spells a cautionary tale of self-indulgence as the mania humoured by the Sparks brothers ultimately ends in apathy and toxic surrender.
It’s bizarre to have an album sounding so upbeat and energetic contrasted with these quite disturbing explorations of the mental cost of excess. But that’s the oddity of Sparks that will sweep you off your feet with their five decades plus of material. Love it or hate it, you gotta respect it, and I guarantee there is something for everyone.
Regardless, it’s one of the most underrated records of all time from one of the most underrated bands of all time, who now appear to be getting their overdue roses. After listening to this and ’No.1 in Heaven’, we’d recommend running loose in their catalogue as their endless detours and gems such as their musical, or ‘Balls’, or ‘Propaganda’.
We have the first two and their latest, ‘The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte’ in the Store now. We’d be quick to get them though as we’re running low as Sparks are hot off their Australian tour.