Sparks Lil’ Beethoven

[Palm Pictures; 2003]

Styles: orchestra, layered synthetic electronica, kitsch pop
Others: The Art of Noise, Human League, Kraftwerk

I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is MORE TYMPANI!!

Thank you Sparks, thank you. You’ve cured me from my dire situation. It looked bad there for a second, but now things are much, much better. You see, all I really needed was a little more tympani in my life. Oh sure, you have supplied me repletely with the overlooked pedaled drum, that cannot be doubted, but you also have given me amply more; you really didn’t need to do that. Already you’ve released 23 albums from 1972 to the present day and that would have plenty of music for me to delve into to salve my dour condition.

Starting in 1970 in your homeland of America, more specifically Los Angeles, California, you formed your unit with two brothers, Ron and Russell Mael. You started out as Halfnelson, but you and I both know that was way too David Hasselhoffish or German or even to World Wide Wrestling, and soon became Sparks after label coercion and after Todd Rundgren, Patti Smith’s special friend, noticed you.

I can’t accurately describe your sound without your help. I remember the time we spoke over tea in your new home of England about your sound. By the way, that move to England was wise, cause your music is way to wank to fly here in the U.S. Anyway, I remember that conversation in Piccadilly distinctly when you detailed the sound of Lil’ Beethoven.

Pre-programmed orchestrations and electronic snyths lay the background structure of each song along with the underused tympani. A grand piano fills out the melodies. You said the vocals sounded ubiquitous and I totally agreed as I can’t possibly relate you to any particular vocalist other than perhaps mentioning that you sound like a whole raft of other snyth-led bands from the U.K. in the 80s. Thanks again Sparks, and I’ll
start spreading the word on the ‘you know what.’

Wait, wait.  I’ve got the fever!!!

1. The Rhythm Thief
2. How Do I Get to Carnegie Hall?
3. What Are All These Bands So Angry About?
4. I Married Myself
5. Ride 'Em Cowboy
6. My Baby's Taking Me Home
7. Your Call's Very Important to Us. Please
8. Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls
9. Suburban Homeboy

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