Lil’ Beethoven

Sparks - CD - Rating: 10/10

After a decade and a half of creating dance floor music, Sparks decided to ditch the beats and try something completely new (to drive the point home, the album opens up with “The Rhythm Thief.” Get it?). The result is one of, if not the best Sparks album of their long career. They turn pop convention on its head with a mix of symphonic arrangements, vocal layering and non-conventional song structures. Songs just flow from one lush arrangement to the next. Occasionally they reach levels of frantic (drum-free) energy in tracks like “What Are all these Bands So Angry About?” and “Ride ’em Cowboy.” The record finally explodes into a full-on rock epic with “Ugly Guys with Beautiful Girls” and closes with the cheery “Suburban Homeboy.” An amazing album from beginning to end.

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