Kimono My House

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Sparks have been mixing pure pop with outrageous musical experimentalism and high intelligence for almost 30 years, and Kimono My House is still their best album. If just for "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us", one of the most startling and singular singles ever released, like a wilder and more perverse Roxy Music, or a surrealist Gilbert & Sullivan ("The thunder of stampeding rhinos/ Elephants and tacky tigers"). But "Kimono My House" is full of the same symphonic delirium, Ron Mael's sharp, funny lyrics and brother Russell's vocal acrobatics, self-consciously spectacular songs that seem to be charging in three directions at once, eruptions of extrovert eccentricity. And the fairground whirl of "Amateur Hour" offers better advice to fumbling teenage lovers than any advice column. "It's a lot like playing the violin," suggest Sparks. "You cannot start off and be Yehudi Menuhin." --Taylor Parkes


A1 This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us
A2 Amateur Hour
A3 Falling In Love With Myself Again
A4 Here In Heaven
A5 Thank God It's Not Christmas
B1 Hasta Mañana, Monsieur
B2 Talent Is An Asset
B3 Complaints
B4 In My Family
B5 Equator