Published May 8, 2009
Sparks’ 21st studio album is not exactly a return to their seventies golden age values and energy, but it comes as close as the fifty-year olds are likely to get at this point. Discarding the distinctly fake-sounding string synths of their last two albums, the Mael brothers wisely place more emphasis on their more-than-competent rhythm section, and at least try to rein in their inherent silliness, to varying degrees of success. What emerges is a more modern and self-aware spin on their operatic power-pop, more accessible than anything they’ve done in years. I Can’t Believe You Would Fall For All The Crap In This Song could even see radio play, with its shuffling analog synth and sultry harmonizing. The song titles and subject matter remain as brilliantly daft, with (She Got Me) Pregnant and Let The Monkey Drive being arguably the dumbest – the former being about backseat nuptials between a couple while the latter a simian takes the wheel (how the monkey got in the car in the first place is never mentioned), and the most poignant lyrics being the sexual innuendo in The Director Never Yelled ‘Cut’ and the self-explanatory Lighten Up, Morrissey.