9. Sparks - Kimono My House
If their work on upcoming musical Anette or Edgar Wright’s documentary has you intrigued by The Sparks Brothers, there’s no better place to start than Kimono My House, their third, breakthrough album released in 1974 but sounding like it emanates from some place ungoverned by the laws of time.
The Mael brothers ride an impossible line, making wildly histrionic music that never takes itself too seriously but is simultaneously not treated as a joke. Opener “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us” is replete with daft western noises, but the vocal turn by Russell is a technical marvel, and the song devilishly catchy.
Closer “Equator” brings the album back to that sense of theatricality, a creepy but tuneful stomp full of voices and inventive synth work.
Between the bookends is a brilliant mixed bag of tracks - rockers like “Thank God It’s Not Christmas”, the hook laden “Amateur Hour”, with older brother Ron pulverising the track with guitar and piano hits as Russell wails away.
The prolific Sparks can be a daunting proposition and are a band that inspires great devotion - this is a perfect place to start.