Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat

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While this album continues in the synthesizer-based pop vein of the previous year's modest hit, "Cool Places," it lacks anything as appealing. Songs like the title track and "Everybody Move" have danceable grooves, and "Song That Sings Itself" and "Love Scenes" are surprisingly conventional love songs. Russell Mael generally avoids his sometimes-grating falsetto, the melodies and arrangements are simple, and the lyrics lack their usual tongue-twisting eccentricity. In short, most of what made Sparks unique is absent on Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat, leaving a surprisingly generic '80s band. Few sparks are struck here.

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