It’s amazing how much brothers Ron and Russell Mael have achieved in their long and storied career. Five decades and twenty four albums later, Sparks releases their latest offering with great energy and fervor, clocking in at 54 minutes across 14 tracks. A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip is bold, flamboyant, and full of wonder. You can hear the band’s influence over a lot of art-pop artists today, who no doubt can trace the lineage of their influences directly to Sparks.
Listeners will get enamored by the wit and satire in all of these numbers. “Lawnmower” adds comical flair to a mundane suburban chore. You’ll find it hard not to hop and skip along to this colorful song. “Sainthood Is Not In Your Future” is what I’d imagine the Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would sound like if they wrote a diss track. “Stravinsky’s Only Hit” follows the classical composer as he navigates the current musical landscape as a pop star, with a sound that’s as crazy as the idea itself.
Along with the bright and lighthearted mood, another highlight of this album is the theatrical presentation of its ideas. You’ll be engaged as the opener “All That” ushers you into the rabbit hole with its inviting saxophone and catchy melody. “Onomato Pia” is not only a wordplay extravaganza, it also follows a fictional character in ways that could rival the eccentricity of Dr. Seuss. Spark’s satire at its best in “Iphone”. It imagines the iconic piece of technology and takes it to absurd eras like the Genesis of Man and the Gettysburg Address. All the while commenting on its crippling influence in our lives.
The band’s veteran expertise is at full display in songs like “The Existential Threat”, which gives tangible form to a universal fear, converting it from something that’s vague and dreadful to something more tame and manageable. The closing “Please Don’t Fuck Up My World” is another oddity. The irony here is palpable as the hopeful and uplifting melody is disrupted by a cuss word in every other line.
There is never a dull moment in A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip. For the engaged listener, 54 minutes will pass by just like a breeze. You’ll get hooked into this immersive world from the get-go. Despite its length, no two ideas are alike or rehashed. Everything is fresh and made with a signature sound that only the best and most experienced artist can deliver. Sparks is here to stay, and avid fans as well as new listeners should rejoice.
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