Ron and Russell Mael: Where the heck have you been? It’s been so long since Sparks have come to my ears they belong in the memory bank along with Milky Bars, Wagon Wheels and Fry’s Turkish Delight. Now that they’ve crept out of their hermitage with the simply FABULOUS A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, its clear that age has not wearied them one iota.
From the superb opener All That through to the closing Please, Don’t Fuck Up My World – a magnificent eco-anthem that twists brilliantly in the web of its own creation – Sparks’ quintessential quirkiness abounds, with witty, unabashedly joyful “Screw-You manship” seeping from every syllable and note. iPhone is superb, as Russell urges the listeners put your “F…ing iphones down and listen to me”, while Ron hammers home their views that such machines are all enslaving, with his punchy keyboards throbbing throughout it all.
It’s like some kind of weird circus world the duo have created, with Lawnmower, Stravinsky’s One Hit and Left Out In The Cold (a song that almost transports us back to the seventies with its pop vibe, well, vibrating) all bouncing off each other like insane, straight-jacketed entities that have been locked inside a rubber-walled room for our entertainment and our entertainment alone.
The Maels’ lyricism and musicianship is, for want of a better phrase, largely unappreciated, probably because it is impossible to pigeonhole them. Yet beneath the oddness lies a near Wordsworthian craftsmanship which deserves to be – like a Banksy portrait – held up for scrutiny by critics everywhere and praised to the hilt. Sainthood Is Not In Your Future, if nothing else, underlines this; a song which heads inexorably towards the album’s finest cut, The Exisential Threat – a goofy, off-kilter journey into a barrel organ backed operetta.
A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip is a masterpiece of strange diversity that’s unlikely to appeal to all tastes. For starters there isn’t a hit single on the scale of This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us in sight here. However, with that said, this is surely the intended point of the exercise.
- Audio CD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd
- ASIN: B084YXQ543
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl
- 3rd July, 2020.