This latest album from Sparks follows on from their highly acclaimed last album, ‘Hippopotamus’ and it is fair to say that they might have surpassed it.
Written by: Explorer
ALBUM: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
SERIAL: NA. Stream and download available. Vinyl, CD and cassette out on July 3rd, 2020.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Russell Mael – vocals * Ron Mael – piano
TRACK LISTING: 01 All That * 02 I’m Toast * 03 Lawnmower * 04 Sainthood Is Not In Your Future * 05 Pacific Standard Time * 06 Stravinsky’s Only Hit * 07 Left Out In The Cold * 08 Self-Effacing * 09 One For The Ages * 10 Onomata Pia * 11 iPhone * 12 The Existential Threat * 13 Nothing Travels Faster Than The Speed Of Light * 14 Please Don’t Fuck Up My World
Sparks were formed in 1970 by the Mael brothers who hailed from Los Angeles, California. I’ve always enjoyed what they do, starting way back in the Seventies with the likes of albums such as ‘Kimono My House’, ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Indiscreet’ and beyond.
Along the way they’ve dipped their collective toes into different genres working with the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Franz Ferdinand and have for the majority of their releases managed to maintain a high standard. This latest album follows on from their highly acclaimed last album, ‘Hippopotamus’ and it is fair to say that, in my opinion, they might just have surpassed it.
‘All That’ kicks off the album with an acoustic guitar, which is quite at odds to the usual Sparks sound, but that is soon cast aside when full-on Sparks mode resumes. Next up are two real earworm tracks, ‘I’m Toast’ and the ridiculously quirky yet catchy, second single ‘Lawnmower’. It’s great fun and makes for repeated listening, if for nothing else to make sure I heard the lyrics right!
Elsewhere the likes of ‘Stravinsky’s Only Hit’ hints at the Sparks of their ‘Indiscreet-Propaganda’ period, ‘Onomato Pia’ is a bouncy Oompah band romp, and ‘Self Effacing’ it could be argued, is the most straightforward rock song on the album, but even then incorporating the usual Sparks eccentricities.
Even the titles of the album tracks themselves give the listener some real pointers as to what you are in for. ‘iPhone’ sums it up perfectly with the line ‘put down your fucking I Phone and listen to me’ which as usual is delivered in Russell’s unique semi operatic style, but is also, at the same time a cracking tune.
Throughout the album, Russell’s vocals and Ron’s keyboards are in perfect harmony and are rightly the main focus, and the quality throughout is staggeringly high. The album closer and also the track chosen as the lead song to promote the album is (for these strange times) very apt, ‘Please Don’t Fuck Up My World’ and is quite the anthem, a plaintive sing along with Russell being accompanied by a children’s choir, you just couldn’t make it up!
This is a superb release from the Brothers Mael, a hugely enjoyable and fun listening experience. I can’t think of many bands (if any) that being on their 24th Album release is still making some of the best music of their entire career.
Both brothers are seemingly untouched by the aging process. Russell has lost nothing vocally and Ron is still delivering madcap tunes and thought provoking lyrics. This is an album that straddles many different styles, both lyrically and melodically. Sparks continue to set a perfect example of how theatrical Art-Pop Rock really should sound.