17 October 2013

Sparks - Kimono My House

Anglophile - A person who loves English culture.  I think this can aimed squarely at the Sparks, they have been in love with the UK and bands from the septic isle (also they have acknowledge as much themselves).  Having formed active since 1971, this band have enjoyed a four decade career which has seen them raise to the top of the charts around the world, to the depths of nothing only to raise like a leviathan and are still around doing gigs and album (recently they have done their first gigs as a duo); also many moons ago they famously offered Brian May from Queen to join them as they stated that Queen were going nowhere fast.  My first experience of this band was when they did 'Plagiarism' which includes new versions of their songs which contains collaborations with faith No More, Erasure and Jimmy Somerville.  On that album two songs original released from this album ("This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us" and "Amateur Hour"), and now I have a chance to finally listen and absorb this work.  So how is this album after just shy of 40 years on the planet....

Starting off the wonderfully ostentatious "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us", Sparks come in with a swagger that is so over the top that it both sickens and integers at the same time.  When it was first released in 1974 it made number 2 in the UK charts, the re-recording with Faith No More from 'Plagiarism' is one of my most favourite songs ever; yet the original is just showing off, especially when they follow it with the manic and delightful "Amateur Hour".  I mean with the opening display the band showed off their ability to craft a brilliant song, they are also just taking the piss slightly, for all the good reasons.  So following this they taking it down a notch, because you don't want to have all you best moments at the beginning.  But even their not so good moments such as "Falling In Love With Myself Again" & "Here In Heaven" which follows that dynamic duo, this are a different kind of duo, they are beautiful slow rock pop songs which will have the youth of the world confused and there is no swearing and the older rockers remembering wistfully when pop and rock were good.

After this the brothers Mael bring they hatred of the festive season with "Thank God It's Not Christmas" which could be many people's personal anthem for the festive season; I know I have been there before myself, and it is brilliantly dramatic and over the top so what is not to love.  Many bands have tried to copy this style and failed in years gone by, and I can see why they have tried but something’s are best in their original form; such as the beautiful and majestic "Hasta Manana Monsieur" which for me is the best song on the album for me.  It combines there fair for the dramatic, their knack for a beautiful riff and piano combination and their ingrained determination to make the best song ever (and their ability to succeed).  Then they casually slip in "Talent Is An Asset".....just casual and without warning.....some people just have too much of a good thing going on.

Following this the joyful "Complaints" and the slow "In My Family" they just keep the classic songs coming on, and then there is a brief moment which does not live up to the rest of the album in "Equator" which for me does not work as well as anything that has gone on before, but no fear as they bring back the style with "Barbecutie" and they bring in the end of the album with "Lost And Found" which brings the album to a wonderful crescendo.  Now this is a brilliant piece of 70's rock and make no mistake about it.  They may have fallen off the radar in the years that followed, but for one of the most pure, most fun and a fantastic record out of that period; brilliant.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Sparks website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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