Don't mention Kant A great album from begining to end. Lot's of camp humour, catchy guitars, electric piano hooks and one of the best album covers ever. These guys must have had a very sheltered childhood to come up with something this eccentric. I can't compare it to anything else, but if you like The Sweet, T-Rex and Ziggy era Bowie this might be for you. It is kind of like glitter rock vaudeville....more info
Contemporary Genius When I was listening to this album back in the Seventees, I thought that the Sparks were a couple of innocent freaks PLAYING and SINGING weird music. After over 20 years it is clear to me that I was honored to enjoy WORK of GENIUS, with gorgeous lirics, brave arrangements and impossible vocal....more info
awesome!! love it!! always have!! this album depicts a good time in my life. i shared this album with my father and it means a lot to me. my favorite song is "this town ain't big enough for the both of us". actually, the entire album is just great. i highly recommend this album to everyone that likes alternative music....more info
Monumental album! I heard this group from my friend and some of his recommended songs are not that good but this was and still is the one of the most favorite song. What is good? Just listen....more info
Girls grow tops to go topless in... [Zoo time is she & you time.] Not many records have aged as well as this. [Everything you wear's too tight and clashes with the candlelight.] One of the unsung best, don't even think about it: you want this. [C'est la vie, c'est la mort, say no more, no. No more...]...more info
A classic Sparks might be considered the chameleon of pop/rock because they seem to be right on the edge of every musical trend. Truth be told, they set every musical trend. Everything they do is ahead of its time, setting the stage for many acts to follow. The first five albums are my college years. We ran to Cleveland twice to see Sparks in concert - once in a large music hall opened by the Flourescent Leach and Eddie; the second time in a smaller club opened by Budgie. Their live act in the mid-seventies - once in support of Kimono My House, then in support of Propaganda - was a wild mix of musical and theatrical excellence.
Kimono My House was spectacular - still is. The lyrics are clever and funny and poignant. The music is driving, great rock. The three Island records are one phase in Sparks career. Big Beat and Introducing Sparks are similar in some respects but not as rocking. Then there's the move into electronica with Giorgio Moroder - once again they set the trend. Go on to listen to Dick Around today. They are still creating great music. Outstanding lyrics and perfect music.
But Kimono My House is the best introduction to Sparks. Buy this and get into the groove. Rock and roll meets Gilbert and Sullivan. You can't beat this. ...more info
Kimono Supremo When first released in the early 70's, I always was listening to it. I remember playing it so much that there was a skip on "This town ain't big enough" and I just got used to hearing it. It always surprises me when I listen to the song on CD and I do not hear the expected skip. This album is still great and, unfortunately, nothing done by the Maels has even come close to the genius of this recording. One thing that is almost never mentioned about the recording is the crisp, clear guitar sound. The songs are fun, sometimes sad, and always melodic. My favorites are "Amateur Hour" and "Hasta Manana Monsieur."...more info
Remembering Sparks -- then and now I remember my first brush with Sparks -- somewhere around 1974, when I was in college. I believe it was on one of those late-night weekend TV shows that were popping up in response to the Midnight Special -- where they showed footage of contemporary bands' live stage acts. Anyway, there they were in all their glory -- three guys banging away with a hard rock beat, Russell Mael prancing around like a babe magnet and Ron Mael as the Hitler look-alike with the straight-ahead stare tapping away on the keyboard. I wasn't quite sure what to make of them at first -- especially since most of the footage I saw came complete with continuous squeals from the live audience, so much so that I couldn't hear the music very well. I hadn't seen anything like that since watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan years before. Anyway, I bought Kimono My House and was both amazed and entertained by its catchy beats and incomparable lyrics. It's not only fun, it's smart. There are a couple songs I'm not crazy about -- much like Sparks' next album, Propaganda -- but as a whole, this album sent my musical taste in a whole new direction. Of course, that purchase was made on vinyl and I haven't played any of my records in many, many years (mainly because it's difficult to find a new needle). So I bought this CD on-line a couple months ago and started living my fond remembrances all over again. My enjoyment, I'm happy to say, is no less in 2000 than it was in 1974. Viva la Sparks....more info
And now for something completely different . . . These Brits were just as odd to music in the mid 70s as the Monty Python Brits had been to television a few years earlier. Their group of songs blended together as connected and disjointedly as the skits in a Python show. I saw Sparks in concert in the summer of '76 or '77 or was it '78(?) (so long ago.) I was given a free ticket, and so off I went. Columbus, Ohio, and I expected nothing (had never heard of the band), but to have a few drinks in the Agora theater on High St. I was happily surprised. Many of the songs from Kimono My House and Propaganda were featured. Falsetto-voiced singer with Hitler at the keyboards. Great . Both child-like and adult at the same time. One of the best shows ever, and I've seen the Stones four times. They did a TV video, and were featured in the movie Roller Coaster. One of 70's rock's best kept secrets. NOTE: Some with be emarrased to listen to this band just because the singer's voice is so high pitched, but give the guitarist and the lyrics a chance and they'll hook ya. their release entitled, Indiscreet, is also worthy of a listen or two or three or more.
Five stars for both originality and quality....more info
1974? I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that this was released when I was only 3 years old! Talk about an undated piece of work. The music is completely addictive, but the lyrics...the lyrics give this cd the 4-star rating. I laughed the entire way through the first playing...then the second. I finally opened the insert and read them. I discovered a flotilla of subtleties that escaped me by merely listening to the music. These aren't your average rock musicians...these guys have brains, talent, and a fabulous sense of humor. Combine those with a talent for writing great music and playing great guitar and you have Sparks. Kimono My House, mon amour......more info
Spark of Eccentricity! This is my first venture into the ever so slightly odd world of Sparks, and what a revelation! The thing that strikes me most about this album is how undated nearly all of the tracks sound. There's some lovely, chunky guitar riffs that you can really get your teeth into, and the bass and drums mesh perfectly together forming some really tight and catchy tunes. It's a flawless and direct sound that grabs you, plays with your mind a bit and then leaves you wanting more. Add to mix the unique but absolutely suited vocal talents of Russell Mael, as well as brother Ron Mael's predilection for choosing odd subject matter for lyrics, and you've got yourself something that is unequivocally eccentric and sounds like nothing else you've ever heard. Rarely have I listened to a recording with such instant, but lasting appeal. Was this really made in 1974?...more info
Yes I Think I'M Falling In Love With Myself Again..The HPD CD of the century. Yes,that is a title of one of the songs from the band of ultimate actors(Histrionic Personality DisOrder diagnosed)..Sparks were a quirky bunch, a high pitched warbler,his brother a mad looking keyboard genius looking like a cross between a demented Hitler and Charlie Chaplain(coming to think of it their music was a bit fascistic with it's reliance on style and elegance combined with the irony and parody of Chaplain)Nonetheless, their music rocked hard with Continental flashes of brilliant crescendos in the right places...This CD was their best batch of songs and for a look at the UK music scene in 1974 you need not look further to see the other acts of the genre such as T-Rex,Roxy Music,Gary Glitter the look of Slade to see the amazing amount of acting and sexual posturing that went into the dash for international attention,stardom these acts left as a legacy in music history.
The remastering is fine and bonus tracks good...Their next Propoganda is like Kimono but this is a bit better in my opinion....more info
The BEST Sparks album Insanely over-the-top productions of nerd-angst pop masterpieces that works to perfection. An amazing achievement that, unfortunately, few people in the US have had a chance to hear. The 70's was a lot more than just disco!...more info
Pure Perfection! This album is pure perfection from the Mael brothers. I bought this at age 14 when it first came out and it remains one of my favorite CDs. "Equator" in and of itself is worth the price of the album. Long live Sparks! : - )...more info
Simply Amazing I heard "Kimono My House" when it was new and for a few years after; when I heard it yesterday for the first time in over 25 years, it was as fresh and perfect as when it was new. Some pop embaresses us years later; "Kimono My House" sounds even better. The chords are *clever*; the cabaret stylistics ("Thank God It's Not Christmas") are superb, and "This Town's Not Big Enough for Both of Us" stands right beside "Suffragette City" as the energy song of the decade. Bravo to the Brothers Mael....more info
The Maels' odd, wonderful Masterpiece Ron and Russell Mael tried a curious experiment with their third album. Sparks had established itself in Los Angeles in the very early 1970s as a club act based on their deep appreciation for the early sixties Britpop acts, and in particular the Kinks. They had developed a following at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, they had released two effective albums with their fellow bandmates the Mankey brothers (yes, the producer and later the Concrete Blonde member), they had had a very minor hit with "Wonder Girl", and they had made some initial media breakthroughs. They had not, unfortunately, sold enough records to earn a living--remember, this was years before new wave bands like the Jam made a living from such homage to an era only eight to ten years removed. The Maels reacted with a daring gambit. They had not impressed America with their Britpop sound--so why not sell their Britpop to Brits? They promptly moved to London, hired a Britpop backing band, tilted the lyrics decisively into rapid-fire Gilbert and Sullivan territory, and changed the sound into, of all things-- guitar-pop Kinks-drenched, ringing guitar, British 19th Century music hall singalong. The band used Russell's fantastically melodic and piercingly high falsetto as the centerpiece and principal driving weapon of the affair. Kimono My House is the first of two resulting records based on this sound. The whole thing improbably works, making this one of the great underappreciated acts of pop genius released in its era. Ron Mael's lyrics are laden with light opera humor, and are intelligent, contemporary, and indelibly odd. Lyrically, Sparks in this era sounds like the Residents might sound if the Residents wrote songs targeted at 12 year old girls. Russell Mael's falsetto is one of those unforgettable things--never critically appreciated, and yet absolutely unique (an analogy might be made with Keith Emerson's live work on keyboards spinning in mid-air during this time period). Kimono My House defies description--the Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" had a similar glampop sound, but Sparks was an altogether different thing. This album is as listenable 25 years after its release as it was when it made the Maels perhaps the most unlikely teenybop idols that Melody Maker ever produced. If you're considering whether you might like Kimono My House, ask yourself the following questions: do you enjoy a band that knows how to parody itself and everything about it? do you like melodic power pop that does not take itself too seriously? do you enjoy an amusing lyric and a band that is willing to try something odd and fun? If your answers were "yes", this is the CD for you. In hindsight, Cheap Trick soon thereafter sorted out how to take the Sparkseque humor and meld it into a wonderful cartoon-metal sound. But nobody did Kinks-as-music-hall-vaudeville as well ever again.......more info
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat You could imagine a young Morrissey listening to this album and taking notes. The witty lyrical and falsetto singing style were very much incorporated in the Smiths. 'Kimono My House' also contains superb playing from the other band members, in particular some huge riffs from guitarist Adrian Fisher. The high energy, exuberant style lends itself perfectly to Sparks' later new wave tinged albums, especially on 1982's 'Angst in my Pants'. The Island reissue of KMH contains two very good bonus tracks, Barbecutie and the storming, rarely mentioned 'Lost and Found', which has a killer guitar line. In fact, the strong basslines and quirky guitar style are reminiscent of the early albums of Sparks contemporaries The Stranglers. To be fair though, I don't think this album is as good as the follow-up 'Propaganda' because KMH is not as complete in the song crafting....more info
Best Kept Secret I believe it was a night in mid December 1974 when I had my first Sparks experience. It was a live concert on some obscure late night music special. Suddenly I was face to face with with Ron Mael, slouched over his keyboards and looking like the love child of Adolph Hitler and David Byrne. I was intrigued. Then came Russel Mael's warbling falsetto layered over some of the quirkiest lyrics I'd ever heard. I believe the song was Talent Is An Asset. I had to know more.
I bought Kimono My House, dropped the needle and opened my mind. This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us hit my ears with it's steady beat and clever arrangement. I remember being struck by Russel's vocal work on this song. It was unlkine anything I'd ever heard. Amateur Hour was the next Sparks nugget to strike a chord. The hook going into the chorus is what caught me. I went back and listened to the lyrics and nearly laughed myself sick. "when you turn a pro you'll know, she'll let you know!" The lyrics took me back to every nervous "encounter" I'd ever had. Thank God It's Not Christmas held the same comic appeal. Talent Is An Asset sounds like the Christy Minstrels meet the B52s. The drums kick start this musical frolic with Ron's keyboards, bass and lead guitars to follow.
What amazes me to this day is how far ahead of the game this band was. What frustrates me is that American audiences never really caught on. Before the Talking Heads and the B52s, Sparks was bending melodies and planting their lyrical tounges firmly in their cheeks. They weren't new wave, they weren't glam, and they weren't pop. They were, and still are unique and undeniably origional. The band is ambiguous,fun and fresh. Kimono My House is an ecclectic mix of black comedy lyrics and superb musicianship. I played the gooves out of this record and never grew tired of it. It's the best kept secret that I have stored in my stacks of vinyl. ...more info
Beautiful record... I bought this one when it came out in '74, and played it to death for a few years before moving on to other stuff . Nearly 30 years later (god help me) I'm really pleased to have rediscovered it on CD. It's got clever lyrics, gorgeous melodies, and the Maels and band put everything across with real power and authority. Sure, it's pop music - meaning that I'm not really sure how much of my enthusiasm for this record has to do with the fact that it was the soundtrack to a large portion of my misspent youth - but the old me and the current me seem to be in agreement that it's great stuff. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you're a Bowie-T. Rex-Eno-Zappa kind of person, "Kimono My House" may be your kind of record....more info
Big In England! Forget about the Mael brothers for a moment - sure Russell's falsetto is (ahem...) interesting, and Ron's robotic Hitler shtick provides for a few laughs - but behind the witty lyrics and arrangements, the boys always had, at least in the early days, a largely unheralded rockin' band behind them, perhaps no more so than on "Kimono My House." This is most evident on songs like "This Town Ain't Big Enough," "Amateur Hour," and "Talent Is An Asset." Adrian Fisher, put down that Les Paul and stand up and be counted!...more info
Very unusual, but extremely catchy songs This was my first introduction to Sparks in 1974 and how very odd they sounded. Russell Mael's vocals coming over like a cross between Geddy Lee of Rush and Robert Plant - but singing completely different type of material. Unusual is too mild a word. However, give it a couple of listens and you realize that the songs are extraordinarily witty and catchy musically - definitely pop rather than rock. What is interesting too is that the Mael brothers or their manager (whoever it was) decided that the best approach was rather than take the "muzak" or ABBA approach they would hire a bunch of top session men to back them, To my mind this was a stroke of brilliance. The band are tremendously capable and they can certainly lay it down. They sound remarkably heavy at times. Hasta Manana Monsieur has one of my all time favorite riffs - all guitar, bass and drums, when it could have been the typical violins and washes of Moog synthesizer more common in the pop end of 70s music. There is little doubt in my mind that every song is a gem even if some are rather annoyingly catchy ("Talent is an Asset" comes to mind). Sparks are the kind of band that can write just excellent effortless pop songs - The Go-Gos and Blondie were in a similar vein. Anyway you might like to try this album - be prepared to struggle with the vocals to start but then perhaps you will grow to really like it. If you are a real rock fan, then liking this album can be your guilty secret. If you are a pop-charts kind of person then you have no need to feel guilty at all....more info
Good but a word of caution I bought this cd because i like angst in my pants so much since i was a kid so i wanted another cd by Sparks i heard this one is the there best so i bought it. I cant really understand what the singer is saying he is very high pitchey sounds like Tiny Tim so the good sparks lyrics that are on this cd get lost in his funny voice luckly this cd comes with the lyrics. The good thing about this cd though is the music the guitars, bass and drums are quite good....more info