Album review: SPARKS – New Music For Amnesiacs – The Essential Collection

Lil Beethoven Records (2CD)

This two CD, 40 song best of is a condensed version of the recent box set, which features 83 songs. Sparks may be masters of pop yet they have had an influence in the rock world including Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot, the Darkness and Foxy Shazam.

Ron and Russell Mael really are musical geniuses it has to be said. Who else could encompass the 70’s guitar driven classic ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’ and the dance pop of ‘The Rhythm Thief’. Then you have them covering their own song ‘Something For The Girl With Everything’ with Faith No More and it’s a glorious listen with Russell’s vocals in one ear and Mike Patton’s in the other.

They have a wicked sense of humour as can be seen on ‘Lighten Up, Morrissey’ and ‘National Crime Awareness Week’, a lyrical tour de force. My all time favourite song by the band ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’ is here in all its glory, from the slow building keys opening through to the pomp rock chorus and midsection, superb musical listening.

You can see where the Pet Shop Boys got some of their ideas from and listening to ‘When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way’ ‘ you’d be mistaken for thinking you were listening to the Pet Shop Boys.

If you only know the obvious hits do yourself a favour and get this collection as it shows perfectly one of the best pop bands around. The good thing about the Mael brothers is that they have evolved their sound yet still have the unmistakable vocals of Russell and the slightly dodgy tash of Ron and his keyboards wizardry.

****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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