13 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Sparks made two terrific albums with a pick-up band in their hometown of Los Angeles, the group didn’t really take off until a relocation to England, which Ron and Russell Mael had long considered their spiritual and creative fatherland. Strengthened by producer Muff Winwood and a new group of British musicians, 1973’s Kimono My House is infinitely tighter and more ferocious than its predecessors. The division of labor between the Mael brothers had been codified, with the cerebral Ron handling most of the songwriting duties and the preening Russell taking on the multifaceted vocal parts. The album’s kinetic energy comes from the contrast between its waves of heavy guitar and Russell’s fluttering, feathery falsetto. Its dizzying sense of fun is epitomized by the hit single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us,” which exudes so much forward momentum that it barely seems possible that one pop tune could contain it. The entire album reverberates with an aura of preeminence and liftoff, but the playing is so gloriously loud that Sparks could still reign supreme in a rock world dominated by heavy guitar heroics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Sparks made two terrific albums with a pick-up band in their hometown of Los Angeles, the group didn’t really take off until a relocation to England, which Ron and Russell Mael had long considered their spiritual and creative fatherland. Strengthened by producer Muff Winwood and a new group of British musicians, 1973’s Kimono My House is infinitely tighter and more ferocious than its predecessors. The division of labor between the Mael brothers had been codified, with the cerebral Ron handling most of the songwriting duties and the preening Russell taking on the multifaceted vocal parts. The album’s kinetic energy comes from the contrast between its waves of heavy guitar and Russell’s fluttering, feathery falsetto. Its dizzying sense of fun is epitomized by the hit single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us,” which exudes so much forward momentum that it barely seems possible that one pop tune could contain it. The entire album reverberates with an aura of preeminence and liftoff, but the playing is so gloriously loud that Sparks could still reign supreme in a rock world dominated by heavy guitar heroics.

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