3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The best Sparks album since 1975. An amazing return to form,
This review is from: Exotic Creatures Of The Deep (Audio CD)
Sparks was one of the few bands in which I allowed catalog gaps in collecting their material. I had the debut album up through 1977's Introducing Sparks, passed on the two Disco albums, returned for the New Wave of 1981's Whomp That Sucker up to 1984's Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat. After that, Sparks returned to their dance music with the forgettable Music That You Can Dance To and Interior Design albums. When Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins was released, I was curious and ended up purchasing the album based on the hilarious song titled 'I Thought I Told You To Wait In The Car'. Unfortunately, I found the whole album faceless and dull modern dance music, and I hated it and disposed of it.
Because of my horror at the sound of Gratuitous Sax, realizing that Sparks was still stuck in their dance music rut, I gave up on them and had no interest in anything else they released. But then Exotic Creatures of the Deep was released. I looked over the track listing, and when I saw the song titled 'Lighten Up, Morrissey', I thought it would be worth a listen. What I didn't expect was the song would return Sparks back to a rock based sound. Guitars had returned, and the drumming wasn't all dancey. I found it highly catchy and it prompted me to sample the rest of the album.
Wow! I couldn't believe how good these songs sounded in the available 30 second bits I had access to. I promptly bought the album and was blown away. Here was the Sparks that I love. Not only does Ron Mael have an endless well of dememnted and zany lyrical ideas, but the music was much more attractive and melodic with all of the quirk that made Sparks so wonderful when I first began to explore their music. Exotic Creatures of the Deep immediately reminded me of the experimentation of 1975's Indiscreet. There were the straight forward songs like 'Good Morning' and 'Lighten Up, Morrissey', but there were brilliant experimental songs such as the quirky hooks of 'She Got Me Pregnant' and 'This Is The Renaissance'. There was even an excellent harder rock song titled 'Strange Animal'. I was very impressed, not only with return of the classic and definitive Sparks sound, but to hear how amazing Russell can still sing after all of these years. This album can easily sit comfortably along side of the classic Island years. I'm definitely open to any future musical offerings from Sparks, but if they move back into dance music, they might lose me again.
That being said, after all of these years of being a Sparks fan, I decided to buy No. 1 In Heaven and Terminal Jive. Being that they were from 1979/1980, I felt there had to be something that I would enjoy, if I could overlook the typical then-popular Disco sound. Having an open mind helps because I found that I enjoy 4 of the 6 Heaven songs, and even managed to pull 3 or 4 from Jive. I still cannot stomach the sound of Gratuitous Sax, though. But if Sparks can stay somewhere within this current sound, which is still a sound that is all their own, then I will remain interested in future releases.
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Initial post: 19 Feb 2012 22:48:26 GMT
Sax 'n' snax says:
If you like this, check out Li'l Beethoven and Hello Young Lovers. Try a track or two from each (say, Rhythm Thief and Dick Around) on Spotify or You Tube and you'll want those CDs as well.
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