The Sparks were among the founders of glam-rock.
They were formed by brothers Ron and Russell Mael in Los Angeles in 1971.
Initially the band was called Halfnelson.
Unlike their British counter-parts, whose emphasis was on eccentric and
outrageous behavior, the Sparks focused on eccentric and outrageous musical
Halfnelson (Bearsville, 1971), reissued as Sparks (Bearsville, 1972 - Wounded Bird, 2006),
is more influenced by Todd Rundgren
(Wonder Girl) and early Brian Eno than by
Marc Bolan or
David Bowie. Sparks' music is a futuristic music-hall
that borrows from pop, soul, hard-rock and progressive-rock.
Their dadaistic sense of humour reached maturity on
A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing (Bearsville, 1972 -
Wounded Bird, 2006)
Russell's ghastly falsetto, the trivial melodies and the grotesque arrangements
gave it the air of a rock opera in disguise.
The brothers relocated to London and reformed Sparks with a new line-up.
Kimono My House (Island, 1974) borrows elements from hard-rock and techno-rock,
but, mostly, focuses on the melodies (and one is truly memorable,
This Town Ain't Big Enough),
as does Propaganda (1975), that contains
Something For The Girls With Everything.
The line-up kept changing on Indiscreet (1975),
Big Beat (Columbia, 1976), which boasts a heavier guitar sound,
Disco-music guru Giorgio Moroder gave them a second life with
Nunber One Song In Heaven and Beat The Clock,
both from N. 1 In Heaven (Elektra, 1979).
When I'm With You, from Terminal Jive (Durium, 1980),
closed the disco chapter.
Sparks returned to hard-rock and pop (with a touch of
synth-pop) on Angst In My Pants (Atlantic, 1982), that contains
Eaten By The Monster Of Love.
The influence of Blondie and
Cars permeates the disco-rock of
Sparks In Outer Space (Atlantic, 1983), with
Cool Places, and
Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat (Atlantic, 1984).
Music That You Can Dance To (MCA, 1986) adopts the production style
Interior Design (Logic, 1988) marked the end of this derivative phase.
Profile (Rhino, 1991) is a career retrospective.
After a six-year hiatus, Sparks released
The Gratuitous Sax And Senseless Violins (BMG, 1994), that contains
mildly entertaining dance-pop ditties such as When Do I Get To Sing,
and is probably the best work in a decade.
Another six-year interval followed. Then Balls (Oglio, 2000), a rather
mediocre album, surfaced.
Sparks reinvented themselves with Lil' Beethoven (2003), a semi-classical
album whose songs maintained the old sense of humor while adding an edgy and
even cartoonish element (notably the seven-minute Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls).
Hello Young Lovers (2006) built on those operatic and bombastic
foundations while reaching back to Sparks' original ditty-oriented cabaret
Exotic Creatures Of The Deep (2008) offered a more austere version of
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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Gli Sparks sono il progetto di due fratelli di Los Angeles, Ron e Russell
Mael, i quali, suggestionati dall'art-rock e dal glitter-rock inglesi,
confezionarono un music-hall nevrotico e futurista. Il falsetto agghiacciante
di Russell, le melodie corrive e un senso dello humour dadaista fecero di Sparks (1971)
e A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing (1972) due pietre miliardi del glam-rock.
Trasferitisi a Londra, perfezionarono il sound rendendolo piu` aggressivo
(con chitarre da hard-rock e l'organo
da flash-rock di Ron) e ancor piu`
melodico (This Town Ain't Big Enough, 1974, Something For The Girls
With Everything, 1974). Sfruttato fino in fondo il filone e tornati in
America, annasparono in cerca di una nuova identita` finche' Giorgio Moroder
li trasformo` in una classica catena di montaggio per hit di disco-music
(N. 1 In Heaven, 1979, When I'm With You, 1980).
Gli Sparks furono il trait d'union fra l'estinta civilta` dei freak e la
nascente civilta` della discoteca, entrambe facce diverse del decadentismo