Sparks make a punk album, a year before punk exploded.
After the sheer brilliance of "Kimono My House", after the frenetic urgency of "Propoganda", after the change in sound and structure of "Indiscreet", Sparks proved they were still surfing way ahead of the crowd by releasing this, an album which forecasts the sound punk tried to make without ever losing sight of intelligence, wit, humour, tunes, offensiveness, sarcasm....oh, and lots of other things that make Sparks so far out left.
Thundering drum sound, scratchy guitar, bass as lead (on most tracks), almost no keyboards - what on EARTH were they trying to do?
No anger, a bit of despair, sexist racism ("White Women" does make me feel uneasy, but it really is impossible to take the track too seriously in the light of the lyrics and everything else they've ever released), the oddbod track ("I Like Girls" - all keyboards and as odd as a very odd thing), and the usual mix of sarcasm, irony, and silly cleverness. Or clever silliness, it depends how you hear this...
Personally, I love most of this album, but unusually (for me) there is an absolute, utter, stand out stunner of a track on here. "I Bought The Mississippi River" is daft, possibly pointless, but it sure sounds like it's about something important....it's made me puzzled for 33 years so far and I do hope no - one ever explains what it actually means.
And it has a TERRIBLE sleeve.
Or is that a great sleeve?..
Maybe not a great Sparks album, but against everything else still worth 5 stars.