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So-so album, terrible remaster from a vinyl LP.
on 15 June 2010
It gets one star, not for the music but for the remastering. The CD has been remastered from a vinyl LP and not the original studio master tapes Sony has in their vaults. What's really unfortunate are the two outtakes that were also included in the Sony vaults, which are said to be titled 'Kidnapped' and 'Keep Me', remain unheard in their studio form. It should be noted that a demo version of 'Kidnap' (sic?) was included on one of the briefly available Japanese reissues from a couple of years ago, but that Japanese SHM-CD was the same lame vinyl transfer of the original album, complete with flaws and glitches. So what's the point?
Introducing Sparks often gets a bad rap for being a bad album, but it's not. It's just not up to the standards of the famous Island records trilogy. Sparks were running low on ideas by this point, but some of the songs do work well, but just barely. 'Occupation' is a nagging little song that lists a multitude of occupations one can achieve, even ending the song with an A-Z list. The "La, la, an occupation for you hoo..." chorus borders on the highly catchy to insanely annoying. There is also a music video for this song, and it was just what I hoped it would be; Russell portraying many of the occupations he is singing about. It's 70's cheese at its finest. 'Ladies' was a song that escaped me for years as nothing more than a cornball novelty. Now I view it as essential listening..., as a cornball novelty. 'Over the Summer' is the failed single, but it shouldn't have been. It's very catchy in a sort of Beach Boys manner, and is one of the strongest songs in the set. 'Goofing Off' is another that borders the stupid/catchy bridge, but the catchy side wins out. Some songs do not succeed, though. 'Girls On The Brain' stays clearly on the stupid side, while 'Those Mysteries' is just an overblown snore. 'Forever Young' is very dated in that 70's AOR rock style.
Introducing Sparks is far from a bad album, but the long-awaited CD reissue is a total let down. I don't care how nicely you reproduced the cover art, I wanted a crystal clear transfer of the studio master tapes, not someone's homemade vinyl cleanup job. Obtain the master tapes, bake at 130 degrees for five hours, let cool in oven another five hours, put the reel on the spindle and start transferring. No more excuses.