I’ve been moved to select a song from 1974 because I had a chance to see this band at Shepherd’s Bush in London last Thursday night.
The group is Sparks, an LA band that’s been a continuous going concert since 1972. At the heart of the matter is two brothers, singer Russell Mael and his keyboard-playing brother, Ron. (Ron is the only guy in history to sport a Hitler-style mustache and get away with it.)
Both these guys are around 70 years old but continue to record and tour. In fact, their 23rd studio album, Hippopotamus, was released just last month and it’s really good in a fun, quirky sort of way, which is exactly what Sparks is all about.
This has been their modus operandi of Sparks since the beginning. They’re somewhere between art pop and Gilbert and Sullivan, living in a headspace that includes labels like chamber pop, New Wave, baroque pop, some offshoot of glam, a flavour of power pop and–well, you get the idea. No one sounds like Sparks.
Franz Ferdinand certainly appreciates them. In fact, there was a project earlier this year called FFS, which was a collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks.
This is still their best-known song, a single from their 1974 album (their third) called Kimono in My House. If you’ve never heard Sparks before, buckle in.