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on 14 September 2000
This was the Mael brothers first foray into the UK/Europe back in 1974. After completing 2 weird and wonderful American albums they set up in London, advertised for a band and produced a number of well received albums and singles, beginning with this rockin' gem. The 2 British top 10 singles: "This Town...." and "Amateur Hour" are first up and then things begin to get interesting. The album is tight, Dinky's drumming rock hard, Adrian's guitar playing superb and Martin's bass loud and exciting. Standout tracks include "Hasta Manana Monsieur"; "Up Here In Heaven" and "Thank God its not Christmas". Sparks could never perform this good live, but if you want a slice of '74 then buy it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 March 2014
..a label I’m sure Smashie and Nicey would readily apply to this classic 1974 album by the unclassifiable LA 'rockers’ Sparks. Of course, listening again to this collection of great hooks and catchy choruses (all overlaid with the band’s unmistakeable, and infectious, eccentricity) one of the few things that is not surprising about Russell and Ron Mael’s troupe is that they decided to decamp from early 1970s LA 'hippiedom’ to take advantage of the burgeoning (post-Kinks, Move, etc, and now Bowie, Bolan, Ferry-inspired) 'scene’ in their adopted UK home. That said, although the sound on Kimono My House has undeniable glam-rock traits, Ron Mael’s songs always pushed the boundaries of more simplistic verse-chorus structures and the level of ironic wit and inventiveness in the man’s lyrics had not been seen since Ray Davies and would not be equalled again until Mozza (a big fan of the band, of course) hit the scene a decade later.

Kicking off, Russell’s falsetto opening to that most bizarre, pulsating and infectious of all romantic ditties (OK Corral gunshots and all), This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us, provides one of the most invigorating album openings anywhere. Thereafter, Ron takes us on a magical tour of intoxicating pop composition via Amateur hour’s tale of burgeoning adolescent romance, the alternative 'theory of relativity’ encapsulated in Talent Is An Asset, the 'down-to-earth’ homeliness of In My Family and the irresistible tale of language barriers in Hasta Manana Monsieur (just about as close as you can get to 'pop perfection’, in my book). Elsewhere, things do get rather ‘grander’ (Rocky Horror Show-like, I would say) in the suicidal Here In Heaven (Russell sounding truly 'Furter-esque’ here), the 'Morrissey song that isn’t’ Falling In Love With Myself Again, the epic take on marital problems at Christmas (with Russell doing his German cabaret accent) on Thank God It’s Not Christmas, the relatively insubstantial tale of 'shop returns’ in Complaints and the nicely ironic tale of 'date stand-up’ in album closer Equator. Throughout, producer Muff Winwood achieves an impressive blend of studio polish and live exuberance, whilst at the same time I still seem to be able to detect some degree of influence on the band’s sound from earlier band producer Todd Rundgren (A Wizard, A True Star era).

Bonus tracks on the 2006 re-release are b-sides, the relatively middling Barbecutie and the rather more engaging tale of good fortune in Lost And Found, plus an invigorating live version (from 1975 at the Croydon Fairfield Halls) of Amateur Hour.
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on 9 April 2015
Picture the scene, it's 1974, can't remember what month but about 7:30pm on a Thursday and a skinny, lanky, curly haired git aged 9 ( that's me) is watching Top of the Pops on BBC1 at a time when there were only 3 channels on TV. I was fascinated by the odd but mesmerising performance of Sparks singing 'This Town Ain't Big Enough' which included a scary bloke with an Adolph tash on piano, the song was like nothing I had heard before with a stunning thudding drum beat that included sound effects of gunfire. I then purchased my first ever album called Kimono My House and was enchanted by the quality and length of ' Thank God It's Not Christmas', the humorous yet tragic lyrics of 'Here In Heaven' and the ever so slightly bonkers 'Equator'. 'Amateur Hour' and 'Hastana Mañana Monsieur' also impress along with 'Falling In Love With Myself Again'
Russell Mael's voice is guilty as charged for being in possession of some of the most catchy tunes I have ever heard.
Love it.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 21 October 2006
Sparks' 'Kimono My House' ranks as one of the greatest albums of all time- despite the fact Sparks have created a wealth of excellent records, this is one that stands out. It's a record that has been cited as an influence, or just is an influence, by/of such acts as Morrissey, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie & the Banshees, New Order, Faith No More, Franz Ferdinand, Associates, The Darkness (and so on...)It's also one of the great long-players of the glam-era, taking its place alongside such classics as Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust', T-Rex's 'Electric Warrior', Roxy Music's 'For Your Pleasure', Todd Rundgren's 'Something/Anything' & Lou Reed's 'Transformer.'

Recorded in the UK, where the Mael-brothers were joined by Dinky Diamond (Drums), Martin Gordon (Bass) & Adrian Fisher (Guitar) - Sparks' had a suitably rock-band sound for their Mael-pop. Whoever said this album was rubbish & nothing more than 'This Town...' is clearly talking out of their posterior. 'Kimono My House' is loaded with pop-classics, even bonus-track 'Lost and Found' (a dead ringer for Suede, like Ultravox!'s 'Life at Rainbow's End') is a classic!

Highlights on an album populated by highlights include 'Amateur Hour', the caustic 'Talent Is An Asset', the prog-ish 'Equator' & the fantastic ode to narcissism 'Falling in Love with Myself Again.' & these are probably not the uber-highlights, which include the caustic gripe 'Thank God It's Not Christmas' - which with 'Here in Heaven' (Juliet bottles out of the suicide pact) makes clear the reason why Morrissey adores them. The humour is fantastic, and possibly the reason why people don't take this album as seriously as they should- classic-lines include "It's a lot like playing the violin/You cannot start off and be Yehudi Menuhin" ('Amateur Hour') & "You mentioned Kant and I was shocked/You know where I come from none of the girls have such foul tongues" ('Hasta Manana, Monsieur'- up there with Monty Python's playful Philosophy Song!).

The two ultra-uber highlights have to be the most well known track 'This Town...', which is a glampoprockrush which nods sinisterly to war ("You are a Khaki-coloured bombadier- it's Hiroshima that you're nearing...the bullets cannot cut you down")& have the euphoric repetition, "Heartbeat/Increasing heartbeat." & my personal favourite 'Hasta Manana, Monsieur' - which manages to allude to 'Strawberry Fields Forever' intelligently (note to Oasis' 'Go Let It Out') and sounds wonderful with such odd lines such as the refrain, "Kimono My House, Mon Amour/I am sure that this motion don't need no accompanying words/Guess I was wrong because you've fled/Leaving me with my Michelin Guide and a half-empty foreign bed." It's kind of amusing and melancholic, a happy-sad-odd pop-rush that makes me wonder if they're the Kurt Vonnegut of pop-music?

'Kimono My House' is quite reasonably the number one album in heaven (though a later Sparks album from 1979 might count too?) - though follow-up 'Propaganda' is as great too! As are the latest two Sparks albums...this is the best version released, coming remastered with great sleevenotes and pics and at a budget price...
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on 30 June 2010
Having read the review in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, I thought WHY NOT GIVE IT A GO!!!

I must have for anyone considering adding quirky glam rock to their cd collection.

Fits in nicely alongside Roxy Music, Eno and The Darkness!

A very interesting and bizarre album that one never seems to get enough of.
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Sparks' 'Kimono My House' ranks as one of the greatest albums of all time- despite the fact Sparks have created a wealth of excellent records, this is one that stands out. It's a record that has been cited as an influence, or just is an influence, by/of such acts as Morrissey, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie & the Banshees, New Order, Faith No More, Franz Ferdinand, Associates, The Darkness (and so on...)It's also one of the great long-players of the glam-era, taking its place alongside such classics as Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust', T-Rex's 'Electric Warrior', Roxy Music's 'For Your Pleasure', Todd Rundgren's 'Something/Anything' & Lou Reed's 'Transformer.'
Recorded in the UK, where the Mael-brothers were joined by Dinky Diamond (Drums), Martin Gordon (Bass) & Adrian Fisher (Guitar) - Sparks' had a suitably rock-band sound for their Mael-pop. That line-up have played this album alongside the recent 'Lil' Beethoven' at Morrissey's Meltdown festival and beyond (there is a DVD) Whoever said this album was rubbish & nothing more than 'This Town...' is clearly talking out of their posterior. 'Kimono My House' is loaded with pop-classics, even bonus-track 'Lost and Found' (a dead ringer for Suede, like Ultravox!'s 'Life at Rainbow's End') is a classic!
Highlights on an album populated by highlights include 'Amateur Hour', the caustic 'Talent Is An Asset', the prog-ish 'Equator' & the fantastic ode to narcissism 'Falling in Love with Myself Again.' & these are probably not the uber-highlights, which include the caustic gripe 'Thank God It's Not Christmas' - which with 'Here in Heaven' (Juliet bottles out of the suicide pact) makes clear the reason why Morrissey adores them. The humour is fantastic, and possibly the reason why people don't take this album as seriously as they should- classic-lines include "It's a lot like playing the violin/You cannot start off and be Yehudi Menuhin" ('Amateur Hour') & "You mentioned Kant and I was shocked/You know where I come from none of the girls have such foul tongues" ('Hasta Manana, Monsieur'- up there with Monty Python's playful Philosophy Song!).
The two ultra-uber highlights have to be the most well known track 'This Town...', which is a glampoprockrush which nods sinisterly to war ("You are a Khaki-coloured bombadier- it's Hiroshima that you're nearing...the bullets cannot cut you down")& have the euphoric repetition, "Heartbeat/Increasing heartbeat." & my personal favourite 'Hasta Manana, Monsieur' - which manages to allude to 'Strawberry Fields Forever' intelligently (note to Oasis' 'Go Let It Out') and sounds wonderful with such odd lines such as the refrain, "Kimono My House, Mon Amour/I am sure that this motion don't need no accompanying words/Guess I was wrong because you've fled/Leaving me with my Michelin Guide and a half-empty foreign bed." It's kind of amusing and melancholic, a happy-sad-odd pop-rush that makes me wonder if they're the Kurt Vonnegut of pop-music?
'Kimono My House' is quite reasonably the number one album in heaven - though follow-up 'Propaganda' is as great too!
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on 3 July 2002
This is an extraordinary album and this review is dedicated to the singer and actress, recently deceased, who inspired the title with her 1953 hit "come-on-a-my house". The Maels' addition of a Japanese connection is symptomatic of the weirdness of the whole concept. Bjork has said of this (one of her favourite records) that Russell Mael sounds here like a demented geisha girl: now we know where she got her cue-cards. Scalpel- sharp wit and style are watchwords, even from the Cabaret spotlit photo of the Maels evoking Berlin of the 20s (the iconic moustache and mad glare in all its sinister glory) on one side and two screaming Nippon tea-ladies on the other. And that's just the cover..... The disc begins with that gradually nearing,icy keyboard riff which still has the power to send shivers up the spine. Nobody at the time could have guessed what was to follow... that androgynous voice - is it boy or girl?.... what is that strange language?...is it major or minor?....what's the metre?.....thirty seconds of some of the most riveting displacement of pop music you are ever likely to hear. " This Town Ain't Big Enough " remains Sparks' greatest achievement and on this album the ride rollercoasters through cheerleader hysteria ("Amateur Hour") chic gigolo cynicism ("Falling in Love With Myself Again") and lovers' angst ("Thank God It's not Christmas", "Hasta Manana Monsieur", and the fabulous "Equator"). These are the best tracks and this is an essential part of your pop equipment. A masterpiece - and I mean that most sincerely, folks.
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on 8 April 2014
With Kimono My House - Sparks' most famous album, Ron and Russell Mael relocated from Los Angeles to London in the hope they could gain more commercial success in the land of Roxy Music and David Bowie. And that they did, as well as creating one of their best albums. Also, by this point their stage personas were completely down - Russell the androgynous, wide-eyed hyperactive frontman and Ron - the stern keyboard player who looked and acted like he'd stepped out of a silent-era comedy film. The success was overnight thanks to the lead single - This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us which remains one of the stranger hits in UK chart history. Ron Mael's typically untypical lyrical slant touched on training for sex (Amateur Hour), Romeo and Juliet's hypothetical blotched suicide pact (Here In Heaven) and Albert Einstein's overbearing Jewish parents (Talent Is An Asset). The music is full of galloping melodrama which adds an intensity that the first two LPs only hinted at. This is classic Sparks and a classic '70s rock album.
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on 9 December 2014
Probably the best of their 70's albums, this third release contains the monster hits This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us and the lesser known but equally brilliant Amateur Hour.

Nearly every track is high quality, melodic and the lyrics are hilarious.

A five star must buy - very highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 18 December 2006
It's always the sign of a stone cold classic album when you can't place the year it was made in. Despite recording it in 1974, square in the middle of the glam fad, this could be released any time in the past 32 years and it would still be considered a work of genius. Obviously the Roman Candle of the record is 'This Town Isn't Big Enough...' but it's just soaked in great tunes, brimming with hooks and almost intimidatingly intellectual lyrical wit. Particularly love 'Thank God It's Not Christmas' and 'Here In Heaven'. I actually put off buying this for years, purely because I was so familiar with The Hit, but having listened to it solidly for the past two days, I can assure any coy shoppers that it's one unalloyed pleasure - even the extra tracks are brilliant, particularly 'Barbecutie'. Highly recommended.
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