Hippopotamus (CD)


Sparks

CD
Currently Unavailable
$15.98
SHIPS FREE in U.S.
Also available in: Vinyl LP, Vinyl LP

Amoeba Review

09/05/2017

Brothers Russell and Ron Mael have spent their nearly 50-year career riding the limits of musical genres and adding a wacky yet artful touch that always places their albums in the fringes of rock. From their Todd Rundgren produced debut album, to their glam period marked by Kimono My House, to their brief foray into disco with Giorgio Moroder, to even musical theater, Sparks have always experimented with new styles and ideas in ways that make their rock albums something more beautiful and strange. Hippopotamus continues the neo-baroque mood of their last few albums with music that has the whimsy of children's songs, the arrangement of classical chamber pieces, and deliriously fun rock instrumentation. The title track perfectly mixes its thudding melody with Ron Mael's very literate lyrics, using silly rhymes and cultural references to tell a very surreal tale. It's destined to get stuck in your head instantly, with a marching synth groove and Mael's falsetto adding an air of drama to all of it. "What The Hell Is It This Time?" starts off dramatically operatic before it kicks into an almost electronic music beat. The song's frenetic high energy and mile-a-minute lyrics go in unexpected directions and subconscious territory. "Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)" drops the irony and free-association for a track that's more emotional and somber by channeling the feeling of the great chanteuses' songs. It perfectly blends the old style of a French ballad with enough rock attitude that it recalls the ballads of David Bowie's early-'80s period. Sparks manage to make pop art that's equally complex and a light listen by balancing everything with a sense of grace and humor. Hippopotamus is a triumph and shows that even after two-dozen albums, the Mael brothers are more experimental and interesting than any of their peers.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Probably Nothing
Sparks 01:21
2.
Missionary Position
Sparks 04:18
3.
Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
Sparks 04:32
4.
Scandinavian Design
Sparks 04:10
5.
Giddy Giddy
Sparks 03:10
6.
What The Hell Is It This Time?
Sparks 04:03
7.
Unaware
Sparks 03:54
8.
Hippopotamus
Sparks 03:47
9.
Bummer
Sparks 03:58
10.
I Wish You Were Fun
Sparks 04:04
11.
So Tell Me Mrs. Lincoln Aside From That How Was The Play?
Sparks 04:00
12.
When You're A French Director
Sparks 02:45
13.
The Amazing Mr. Repeat
Sparks 02:59
14.
A Little Bit Like Fun
Sparks 03:57
15.
Life With The Macbeths
Sparks 04:12

CD
Currently Unavailable
$15.98
SHIPS FREE in U.S.
Also available in: LP , LP
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