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Sparks - Hippopotamus | FESTIVALPHOTO

Sparks - Hippopotamus


I'm guessing that most people over a certain age remember Sparks for their 1974 hit "This town ain't big enough for both of us", but although they do have a cult following and a long list of releases, most people probably only know them for that one song.

Hippopotamus is actually their 23rd album, and their first for 8 years. Ron and Russell Mael, the brothers behind Sparks have certainly managed to maintain their reputation for creating something that stands out from the crowd.

It's an album with brilliantly written lyrics often delivered with Russell Mael's distinctive falsetto voice. There's humour, insanity and genius here. It would be easy to write it off as just nuts based on a first listen - after all lines like "There's a hippopotamus in my pool" are certainly unusual, but as you listen to the songs more you start to realise how well crafted the songs are, and the lyrics are often mini-stories.

The music is equally well done - it's quirky and strange, but at the same time it's catchy and compelling listening. It's music that defies categorisation. You could call it pop, but that really wouldnt give any hint as to the quirkiness.

It's often said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. If that's true then with this album the Mael brothers are balancing perfectly on that line - it's that perfect mix of genius and insanity. It's a fantastic album I'd definitely recommend.

Track listing:

1. Probably nothing
2. Missionary position
3. Edith Piaf (Said it better than me)
4. Scandinavian design
5. Giddy giddy
6. What the hell is it this time?
7. Unaware
8. Hippopotamus
9. Bummer
10. I wish you were fun
11. So tell me Mrs Lincoln aside from that how was the play?
12. When you're a French director
13. The amazing Mr Repeat
14. A little bit like fun
15. Life with the Macbeths

Writer: Anthony May
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