Monday, April 10, 2006
Back in '74 when I was 13 the older kids were listening to Roxy Music and David Bowie and the more rebel minded amongst them would come to school adorned in make up and mild forms of cross dressing, as impressionable teenagers our reaction was a mixture of shock and of awe . At this time the most outlandish our tastes were was maybe Slade or Sweet and then along came the Mael brothers AKA Sparks and for those of us still firmly under parental control they seemed very daring. They were camp in the extreme and everyone knows how much the Brits like their campness, Ron with that cute little moustache and 1950's hairstyle coming over like a demonic cross between Adolf Hitler and Charlie Chaplin and Russel counter balancing him by being the good looking permed hard rock pin-up. Musically they were some where between good old prog rock and 1930's style Berlin cabaret with that so falsetto voice, rumour has it that Freddie Mercury himself was jealous! In these pre punk days they provided something for us to cling to that our parents couldn't understand. And they had songs didn't they? Real big hit songs that worked their way to the top of the charts like their 1974 hit 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us' from their glam-bubblegum opus 'Kimono In My House'. Thirty odd years later and they're still around making music and looking as kooky as ever. If AMG are to be believed 22 albums in 35 years, their latest from earlier this year entitled 'Hello Young Lovers' contains their usual signature quirky pop songs harking back to their glory days. While what is left of their old rivals, Queen, have taken a sad road to touring with Paul Rogers, Sparks are still full of youthfulness and NRG.
So what got me thinking about Sparks was last weeks Clash covers post, the album from which the songs were taken included a great child like take on the Strummer song 'We Are The Clash' ( taken of course from the bands piteous Jonesless final album 'Cut The Crap') by the Mael boys. Their take on the song comes over like a cross between a Broadway musical and Pink Floyd definitely shades of 'The Wall' showing through here, but still well worth a listen.
Should you have just realised that your collection is lacking in Mael pop there is still the larger part of their repertoire sill on catalog including numerous compilations.