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Review: "Hippopotamus" - Sparks

by Andy Snipper,

It’s been a long while since Sparks really raised my interest – slightly weird because I was a big fan back in the day. This new release though is one that is really difficult to pry away from my player.

This is the first ‘proper’ release from them in nearly 10 years but, oh my, how much have they grown in those years.

Ron & Russell Mael are still the heart of Sparks and they have become, over the years, elder statesmen, eminences grise, of pop.

The sound is honed, drenched in melody, still driven by Ron’s piano and had me bouncing around the room with joy.

The two tracks that really grab me and have it on repeat are the wonderful "Edith Piaf (Said it better than me)" – a massive piece that has changes, riffs, hooks and dark lyrics that are at the heart of the song – and the title track which is equally skittish, silly, and just has to be enjoyed for the quirky presentation.

Add to that "What The Hell Is It This Time" with its heavy strings and echoes back to their early peak and you get three songs that almost any artist would be proud to have written in a - lifetime!

Superb album – a career peak!