Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mael Brothers

I truly wish I hadn't missed their recent concert in Helsinki.. They sound so good! It’s of course Sparks I’m talking about. The band’s been around since the early 70s, and the members Russell and Ron Mael still make new records and play live shows. Recently, they performed all 21 albums of their prolific career in London. I also heard that their gig in Helsinki on June 16th was tremendously good. These brothers are nearly in their sixties and they’re still going strong!

This music is exciting, it’s distinctive.. At first it’s not even very easy to say which genre it represents. Mael brothers have actually made lots of different kind of music during their career. Their first albums, however, are clearly pop-rock, and they may have some psychedelic features, too. I’ve been focusing mostly on their most famous album Kimono My House (1974), and also given some attention to the two following albums, Propaganda (1974) and Indiscreet (1975).

Kimono My House is a very good album. This Town Ain’t Big Enough for
Both of Us opens it and it’s followed by another great track Amateur Hour. These excellent songs represent Russell Mael’s brilliant, very, very distinctive falsetto voice. However, this album has a lot more to offer than just a couple of hit songs: it’s very interesting all the way.

Sparks lyrics apparently contain lots of fun and peculiar stuff - a treat for lyrics-interested listeners. These songs have quite weird titles already (e.g. Thank God It’s Not Christmas).. Something about this music also strongly reminds me of Queen/ELO. Hasta Mañana Monsieur is a good example of that effect.

One of my favourites is Lost and Found, a song that didn’t appear on the original album, but it is included on the 21st Century Edition. It was a b-side to Amateur Hour single. Equator is a brilliant song for checking out Russell Mael’s vocal capabilities. In that song he really uses his voice as an instrument. That sound is amazing – I think I’m going to fall in love with it as I keep listening to this music.

If you haven’t checked out this band, I highly recommend it. The music really is worth listening – be it new or old. I’ve heard, for instance, that their 2008 album Exotic Creatures of the Deep is really good.
Should check that out..

Sparks at MySpace

No comments: