KIMONO MY HOUSE by Sparks

Syn Gates

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The first song had me thinking of Lady GaGa, ABBA and the Logical Song from Supertramp. I listened to the album when I woke up, before I left and just now again. It's really cool, I would probably have never heard a lot of the things shared if I was on my own. Is this considered to be melodic? I'm not too sure about what things literally mean, I heard you say you liked motifs before and for the longest time I thought it meant a train ( locomotive ) , like a steady pace. Some parts/songs remind me of a dark carnival. Overall I liked it and I want to try and mix guitar with the keyboard again. The first time listening I wasn't feeling it, I'm sure it was my mood and just waking up. I don't have any specifics about songs but I'm going to listen to it more often this month. Thanks for sharing! :explode-skull:
Ya man you may just not end up digging it. Totally ok. Tons to learn from here. I would say they’re very melodic because of how intricate and classically influenced the vocals and harmony are. A motif is basically a small idea that you build things off of or expound upon.
 

Iris

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  • Oct 14, 2020
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    Love this!!! Yes, I wasn’t expecting many to find this as wonderful as The Rev, PG, or I do but I can’t lie, feels good when it resonates with someone the same way.

    If nothing else, you can take all the super interesting harmony(chords) and arrangements and utilize in your own way. I don’t think my band sounds anything like this but I have certainly borrowed and stolen a ton from them.

    More respect to those who don’t like this band but take from them anyway. There’s no denying the depth and creativity of their songwriting.
    Definitely creative and different. That's always a positive.
     

    Jamie London

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Alrighty, so, my introduction to Sparks actually came from hearing their song “Now That I Own the BBC” from their 1994 album “Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins” when I was a wee lad. I don’t remember where I heard it exactly, but I have a few ideas. Anyways, that chorus stuck with me all the way up into my teen years when I finally decided to google the lyrics and then YouTube the song and I was hooked. From there I started going back through their discography and the first full albums I checked out were this one, “Indiscreet” and “Big Beat”. And at first it was very.. jarring.

    “Now That I Own the BBC” definitely had a more accessible sound to my ears at the time and this album came across very jarring, almost annoying to me at first. But even then I remember thinking how good “Thank God it’s not Christmas” was. And after a few listens through it all just clicked. Russell’s vocals have always reminded me of Marc Bolan from T-Rex mixed with Freddie Mercury. In fact Sparks remind me a lot of Queen, albeit possibly even more eccentric.

    After working through their discography a few times I was all in and this album and Indiscreet were my favorites (with Indiscreet taking a slight edge). There’s a ton going on here, on one hand it’s like ok, there’s a rock vibe for sure, and then you have this very prevalent cheeky comical side, and then Russell’s vocals which definitely make them stand out. In “Here in Heaven”specifically there are moments where he reminds me of Tiny Tim oddly enough haha.

    I just always have a blast listening to these dudes. That being said, they’re not going to be for everyone and that’s 100% understandable haha. I’ve shown them to friends and family before and some of them have just found them to be annoying, and my first listens to some of these albums back in the day made me feel the same way at times. I’d just ask if they didn’t click with you off the bat, maybe give them a few more chances. I think “Now That I Own the BBC” is a great intro for people who want to get into them. And I think that once you know what to expect a bit more, getting into some of their other stuff will be a bit easier. They also have a really well done cover of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that you may love or hate 😜

    I’m just super stoked that this is this months AOTM. It’s such a fun record and seeing everyone’s different reactions is too cool. Happy listening fam

    Edit: There’s also a new Edgar Wright documentary that’s just come out about the band. I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve only heard great things so I’m sure that’s worth checking out if you want to get into them a little more!
     
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    Gabby Heafy

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  • Apr 5, 2020
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    I've never heard of this band before, so of course I started to investigate to know them. They are two brothers, who have very particular voices, They made their first album in 1971:eek:🤯 .... wow!.They have a very creative Art Rock style and has a very marked glam pop, their music for that time was quite revolutionary, even many songs remind me of Queen ( by the way I am a big fan), a bit in their falsetto vocals and melodies.
    Here are my thoughts on this great album. I really like to listen to all kinds of music and open my mind much more.🤓😍

    My favorite songs:

    This town ain't be enough for both of us:
    I loved the melody and the vocals in the beginning, reminded me of ABBA. A very new and creative style for that time, I enjoyed it a lot!🤩

    Amateur hour: A beautiful classic pop song! I love the echo effect on the vocals during the chorus and the Guitar riff!😍

    Here in Heaven: The vocals are amazing! Their lyrics are very intelligent and ironic at the same time. Pure pop perfection that gets heavy when Needed.

    Thanks God it's not Christmas: Wow, hearing this for the first time is amazing. The melodies that the guitar creates in this song are beautiful.🙌

    Hasta Mañana: Very powerful and amazing! Every riff in this song is fucking hypnotic! 👀

    Complaints: I wanted to highlight the guitar solo, wow!... Perfect! and the lyrics of the song are amazing!
    "Nothing in the world is perfect, Grin and bear it silently or yell into my ear"

    Lost and Found: My fav! Speechless......absolutely brilliant! I loved the style of this song, a lot of Rock and Punk, there's a beautiful mix! I'm sure many bands have taken influence from this awesome band.👏

    I really thought I wasn't going to like it because of the little I had heard, but when I listened to the whole album I really liked this recommendation. It's a very creative band, revolutionary both in music and vocals and very powerful for its time, we are talking about 1971!!!.... incredible!.

    @Syn Gates , what are your favorite tracks from the album?

    Thanks Syn for this fabulous recommendation and for bringing music with different styles. Even better to know that you introduced this band to The Rev.
    I love you!❤️🤘
     
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    Ed Seith

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Never heard of these guys. Thoughts as I listen...

    Okay, wow. I hear some Who influences, Tiny Tim in the vocals, and other bits from the 70s in This Town. The drumming is really cool. Amateur Hour I like. The Motown-style drumming gets me every time. The arrangements and rhythm breaks are really cool - I don't see myself listening to this on a regular basis, but there's tons of shit to steal in the flourishes and stuff. Feeling some Elton John in here, too.

    The unison guitar/bass lines in Falling in Love with Myself again are cool. Love the guitar - rhythm and lead - in Here in Heaven. Thank God it's Not Christmas has echoes of Rush in it, of all things. For me, anyway.

    Hasta Manana, again, it just FEELS so 70s, with influences from all over the popular music of the era all thrown into a big old stew.

    So far, I have to say that I really do LIKE and ENJOY this, but again, it's not something I'd really put on repeat or anything. Probably finish listening tomorrow. Have to focus on some work stuff for a bit!
     
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    redlipsofdeceit

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  • Oct 21, 2020
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    I gave the album a listen, and it's very different from the music I usually listen to, even tho at some points some things reminded me of Queen - which is a band I grew up listening to -; maybe because those bands had some 70s stuff in common, I don't know. I gotta be honest, didn't really dig this too much, but there are some good stuff in it. The guitar has lots of shining moments in the album, for sure. Nice to know this time it was a band you introduced Jimmy to.

    Those are the songs that I enjoyed the most:

    This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us - I really dig the guitar in this track.

    Here In Heaven - I really loved this one and would put it on my playlist. I am not certain if I've heard it before, but it strangely sounds very familiar. The lyrics are weirdly fun, the vocals, the whole song atmosphere is fun, actually.

    Talent Is An Asset - it got my attention because I wanted to know who Albert was; then, I did my little research, and found out the song is about no one other than Albert Einstein. 😂 Awesome!

    Complaints - the guitar solo made me really happy.

    In My Family - does it have an organ in it? Or is it maybe a keyboard effect? I don't know, but I heard some goth sound and it caught my attention.

    Syn, I would like to know more about how PG introduced you to this music and what was your reaction the first time you listened to it.
    Thank you for another rec, I really appreciate it. ❤
     

    Jamie London

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Never heard of these guys. Thoughts as I listen...

    Okay, wow. I hear some Who influences, Tiny Tim in the vocals, and other bits from the 70s in This Town. The drumming is really cool. Amateur Hour I like. The Motown-style drumming gets me every time. The arrangements and rhythm breaks are really cool - I don't see myself listening to this on a regular basis, but there's tons of shit to steal in the flourishes and stuff. Feeling some Elton John in here, too.

    The unison guitar/bass lines in Falling in Love with Myself again are cool. Love the guitar - rhythm and lead - in Here in Heaven. Thank God it's Not Christmas has echoes of Rush in it, of all things. For me, anyway.

    Hasta Manana, again, it just FEELS so 70s, with influences from all over the popular music of the era all thrown into a big old stew.

    So far, I have to say that I really do LIKE and ENJOY this, but again, it's not something I'd really put on repeat or anything. Probably finish listening tomorrow. Have to focus on some work stuff for a bit!
    Good call on The Who influence, they were huge fans of British rock bands of the 60s and 70s. The Who, The Kinks, etc etc. A lot of people actually mistake them for being a British band when they first hear them 😅 Good ear Captain!
     
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    iridecently

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  • Jun 5, 2020
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    Ok I had never heard of this band or any of their music (or maybe I have and I just forgot, because honestly my memory is shit). I went into this not expecting a whole lot, because some others had spilled to me that they didn't really love it 😅 But honestly really enjoyed listening to this album. I am always a sucker for music they prominently features keyboards/organs, so already bonus points for that aspect. Like @Ed Seith and @redlipsofdeceit already mentioned, I definitely noticed some similarities to British bands of the 70s like The Who, Jethro Tull and what else have you. It also kind of reminds me of 80s synth-pop and new wave like Men Without Hats, Pet Shop Boys and Alphaville, so I don't know if there is any influence that happened there, but I definitely got those vibes.

    I have to say that the first track of the album probably is the weakest for me and it kind of threw me off at first. My favorite on the album was probably Talent Is An Asset because to me it's just the perfect combo of cheesy europop-esque 70s/80s music and 70s brit rock. But honestly I really enjoyed the entire album, normally I am very focussed on lyrics and vocals but they blended in with the rest of the instruments so well that I really found myself paying most attention to guitar and keyboard. There's a lot of cool riffs and melodies on this album that will probably get stuck in my head for days on end.

    So yeah really enjoyed this one and will probably go back to it a few times and keep noticing new stuff because I feel like there is a lot of musical layers to unpack here that I haven't even noticed yet 😀
     
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    Brian Haner Sr.

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    Nov 11, 2019
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    Way back in the dark ages (before the internet) there was a TV show called "In Concert". It was the only place on TV you could see new bands. It was filmed at The Long Beach Arena (Yes-the same one as Live in the LBC) every Tuesday during the afternoon and evening. I was in the 10th grade (circa 1974) and I used to ditch school after lunch every Tuesday and make the 20 minute drive to see the show. The very first show I attended featured Sparks. The minute I heard the opening of "This Town" I was blown away. There was nothing like them anywhere at the time. They sounded amazing and they were really fun to watch. Great songs and very theatrical performance. On my way home I bought their first two albums; Kimono My House and Propaganda.
    I wore them out by the time their next album (Indiscreet) came out. I consider them to be possibly the best run of albums any band has ever put out. And they managed to put all 3 out in the span of a year and a half. Crazy.
    Ron Mael is the genius behind the songs, which are melodic and (deceptively) harmonically complicated. His brother Russell brings the songs to life with his incredible range, energy, and emotion. The lyrics are funny, poignant, and philosophical - occasionally all at the same time.

    Sparks is not for everybody. This is the kind of band you love or hate. They are not background music. They demand constant attention - which is a turnoff for people who just want to crank up the volume to workout or play some music at a party. They're the kind of band that you listen to with headphones while reading the lyrics.
    Admittedly - that's a lot to ask.
    But they are definitely worth the deep dive. They are totally fun and one of a kind. AND - they're still making music! 50 years after their first album - their 25th album was released earlier this year. And NO two albums sound alike. Remarkable.
    They are still one of my favorite bands of all time, (especially the three albums I mentioned).
    Enjoy! Even if they're not your thing - their creativity and originality can't be denied.

    Oh - and kudos to Syn for such a ballsy choice for AOTM! lol

    Cheers!
    pg
     

    redlipsofdeceit

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  • Oct 21, 2020
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    Thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope you liked it! 🤘 😋😋
    No need to thank me! Glad I could help.
    I read all the reviews (after I post mine, of course, so I don't get "influenced" and copy anyone 😅) since AOTMs are fun when discussed in community! 🤗
     
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    Wally

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  • Sep 27, 2020
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    I loved this. I threw on this album when getting ready for the day and I loved how their songs had this way of blending together. I never even knew the songs were changing unless I picked up my phone. Like man this song sure is long but it's pretty good! Oh wait...😂