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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sparks Mael Story

Sparks Mael
Ron Mael & Russell Mael first formed Sparks under the name of Halfnelson, way back in 1969. Sparks is an American rock and pop music band known for its quirky approach to both lyrics and the music. The band centers around two brothers--songwriter and keyboard player Ron Mael and vocalist/other songwriter singer Russell Mael. The band first emerged as Halfnelson from the Los Angeles club scene, but changed its name to Sparks after the release of its first album. The first album, produced by Todd Rundgren, charted a minor single, Wonder Girl.

Sparks' Mael success began in earnest, however, with their third album, "Kimono My House". This work and its follow-ups, "Propaganda" & "Indiscreet", achieved UK success (and hit singles, including their signature song, "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us") with a power pop attack fueled by Russell Mael's falsetto vocals and Ron Mael's satirical lyrics.
Sparks scored numerous hit singles throughout the world during the over thirty years of its existence. Mainstream US chart success, however, has all but eluded Sparks. The "Sparks sound" has evolved from 60s homage to glam pop to power pop to metal to mainstream pop to electronic dance music to its 2003 incarnation, satiric art songs layered with repetition of lyrical phrases. Despite the many genres in which Sparks Mael has dabbled, a recognizable "Sparks Mael sound" has given the band a cult fan base while puzzling most of the public at large.

The Maels' work explores the absurdity in rock and pop forms, and in the popular culture in general. Sparks Mael proved an influence on various power pop and glam rock revivals, as well as one of several lyrical forerunners of the late 1970s new wave. Sparks' stage shows typically feature low-key theatrics, in particular revolving around Ron Mael's "so square as to be hip" stage persona, complete with short-cropped hair and various incarnations of a pencil-thin moustache.
Few years ago a new version of "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us" was recorded with the U.S. band Faith No More (Sparks "Plagiarism" Cd). In 2005, the British singer Justin Hawkins, under the name British Whale, covered "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us". Both Ron Mael and Russel Mael featured in the video. (from Wikipedia)

To find out more about Sparks, please select a specific review link from the menu on the left side or go to the most comprehensive pages on the web about Sparks' early years :
  • Sparks Mael/Halfnelson - The Early Years 1969-1973

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