Thursday, 1 May 2014

Sparks and Kimono My House


 The rivetting song 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us', from the album 'Kimono My House', is the song that initially drew me into the music of Sparks, and is probably their most famous song.  First impressions were that the music was highly original, interesting, complex and definitely ahead of it's time. 
 This wonderful, unique album was made in 1974 in England, it's rather a pop music masterpiece. 
 This line-up of Sparks consisted of brothers Ron Mael (a brilliant songwriter and keyboardist who has a habit of giving unnerving, intense stares) and Russell Mael (who possesses a beautiful, melodic voice and boundlessly energetic stage presence);  Martin Gordon's incredibly superb bass playing and arrangements; Dinky Diamond's great drumming, and Adrian Fisher's distinctive electric guitar work. The musicians in this fantastic band must be praised for their great skill, all did an admirable job and made this album extra special.
 'Kimono My House' has one of the most striking album covers, with the two Japanese girls in those beautiful kimonos, which makes it desirous to have on LP for those who appreciate good record sleeve design, but I also recommend the cd reissue, which has a lovely little inner booklet and two smashing B-sides: 'Barbecutie' and 'Lost and Found'.  
It's difficult to comment on each and every song, as it's excessive repetition to keep giving descriptions such as excellent music, singing, playing; great melodies, rhythms, incredible lyrics, and so on.  But, the album is excitement from start to finish.  "You hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers..." This is an exceptional and eternally fresh and vibrant album, with much style.
  Clever, idiosyncratic and unique, with a sense of humour, there's no other band like Sparks.  For those who don't connect with their music, they are missing out on something rare and often precious.  They have changed sounds and styles so many times, always advancing forth, yet even if a style here and there may not immediately be to one's personal taste (perhaps something very modern that takes a bit longer to grow on one), they are usually songs of a high standard and always sung to perfection; and will expand your musical horizons.  So you can move on from those earlier renowned albums and find a deep well of highly commendable ones.  I still have more of their musical treasures to delve into deeper and explore, but am finding treats from everywhere and can't wait to hear what further new delights they are going to keep coming up with.
Sparks music is proper music for those who take music seriously and appreciate true artistry and craftsmanship; music that is created with great care and attention to detail, often with a sense of fun lurking under the surface or prominently on the surface, which makes the music impart an uplifting feeling.  It can also be dramatic and very moving. It is intelligent music, with varying degrees of complexity, sophistication (sometimes overtly unsophisticated) and with an admirable disregard for following the crowd-for Sparks experiment and set trends, not follow them.  This music cannot be labelled or put into a tidy little category, it is beyond that and deserves much respect; especially with the current state of rock/pop based music, most of which is incredibly dull, uncreative, depressing, unlistenable, and unbearable.
So now further into Sparks and 'Kimono My House':
The stylish promotional video for This Town...


The next version of the band performing 'Amateur Hour' on German television 
'Lost and Found'
Kimono My House:
This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us
Amateur Hour
Falling In Love With Myself Again
Here In Heaven
Thank God It's Not Christmas
Hasta Manana, Monsieur
Talent Is An Asset
In My Family