Sparks

Indiscreet

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In the '70s and '80s, Sparks' American fans couldn't understand why the Mael Brothers weren't as big in the United States as they were in England. "Why don't more of our fellow Americans realize just how great these guys are?" was the question that Sparks addicts in the U.S. often found themselves asking. Whatever the reason, British audiences really connected with Sparks' goofy, insanely clever lyrics -- and the fact that Russell Mael sings like he could be an eccentric upper-class Englishman (although he was born and raised in Los Angeles) probably didn't hurt. Indiscreet, which was the Mael Brothers' third album for Island and their fifth album overall, is state-of-the-art Sparks. The power pop melodies are consistently infectious, and the lyrics are as humorous as one expects Sparks lyrics to be -- nutty gems like "Pineapple," "Happy Hunting Ground," "Tits," and "Get in the Swing" will easily appeal to those who like to think of Russell and Ron Mael as the pop/rock equivalent of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Like other Sparks releases of the '70s, Indiscreet did much better in England than it did on the North American side of the Atlantic. In the U.S., this 1975 LP appealed to a small but enthusiastic cult following -- in Great Britain, Indiscreet was a big seller and appealed to a much larger and broader audience. Over the years, Sparks has experimented with everything from hard rock to Euro-disco. But power pop is the primary focus of Indiscreet, which went down in history as one of the band's best '70s albums.

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