For those who may be unfamiliar with the work of Sparks, it is probably worth pointing out a few things. They are brothers Russell and Ron Mael, they have been together as a band for almost 40 (!) years, and you probably no more of their songs than you actually think you do. It should also be noted that they don't take themselves too seriously, to say the least. There are more theatrics, wit and pomp than can be found in many another artists back catalogue, that’s for sure. A quick scan through the track list will give you an idea – “(She Got Me) Pregnant”, “Lighten up Morrissey” and the rather brilliant “Let the Monkey Drive”. I'll save the best title I've ever heard till a bit later though...
In terms of the music – well, its all about that highly recognisable Russell Mael voice – the rest, I’m afraid, is pretty samey. There are some surprises musically though – take the shift of tempo and distorted electric guitar which brings “Strange Animal” to life. It is when the machines are turned up and brought to the fore that Sparks come into their own. The geniously-titled “I Can't Believe That You Would Fall for All the Crap in This Song” shows off their glam-electro chops, and besides the obvious intended humour as seen in the title, why their sound has influenced many an artist to this present day. It rocks along in a blizzard of glitter and electronic foot stomping, showing these electronic court jesters can still string together a tune. For the whole though, it is all about music as drama; there are horns, pounding kettle drums and all kinds of strings put together into a kind of musical production, without the visual element.
So, my final thought – it is fun, it is quirky, and very stylised; unlike anything you will hear in the modern day charts. The problem is it still seems to belong to the times of the late 70:s when Sparks were at their experimental peak. Just who would listen to this now? Well I certainly would, as the album did appeal to me, but unfortunately for many I feel it may be no more than a curiosity I'm afraid.