Friday, October 11, 2013

Sparks in a nutshell

In the comments section of a review of the Sparks album Exotic Creatures Of The Deep, I composed this in answer to a query of where to start with Sparks. For a pithy analysis, well, it's pithy and has enough value to put it on the blog.

1. Demos/Halfnelson/Sparks/Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing: Demented neo-psychedelic rock. Songs about incest, dating Germans and smashing into cars to meet people. Dresden Dolls fans will love some of this stuff.

2. Kimono My House/Propaganda/Indiscreet: Sparks inspires Queen, Morrissey and many others, and become glam stars in the UK. Most fans think this is their best period.

3. Big Beat/Introducing Sparks: -- poor production hampers two solid collections of tunes.

4. Number One In Heaven/Terminal Jive: Sparks invents electronica/techno/gay disco and synth-pop duos. Heaven is the most influential album no one has ever heard. Jive is a shadow of that.

5. Whomp That Sucker/Angst In My Pants/In Outer Space/Pulling Rabbits: Sparks goes New Wave, becomes KROQ stars. The first two albums are great silly fun. Outer Space goes more synth, and Rabbits is hit-or-miss.

6. Music That You Can Dance To/Interior Design: Ron and Russell build a studio. Music is somewhat experimental, yielded the brilliant "Change", but is spotty. Design has even fewer spots.

7. Gratuitous Sax/Plagiarism/Balls: Sax is a Eurodisco comeback and got them on the charts in the UK again. Very good. Plagiarism is an odd self-tribute album. Balls has its moments.

8. Lil' Beethoven/Hello Young Lovers/Exotic Creatures: Baroque minimalistic orch-pomp-pop? Beethoven was so bracing in 2002 and the Maels showed they still have it. Lovers explores the approach some more. Creatures moves the approach into a more pop direction and is awesomely catchy.

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