Album of the Day
Rock's favorite pair of oddballs, Sparks was formed in the late 1960s by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, on keyboards and vocals, respectively. The duo started out as Halfnelson, and it was under that moniker that they entered the studio with producer Todd Rundgren to cut their eponymous debut for Bearsville. The 1971 album failed to connect in the marketplace until the boys changed their name to Sparks, signed with Warner Bros. and reissued the set a year later – at which point SPARKS earned a minor regional hit (in Alabama, of all places) with “Wonder Girl.” Guitarist Earle Mankey, his bassist brother Jim and drummer Harley Feinstein fill out the sound on these 11 originals, and the band is as tight as it is quirky. The clever lyrics, falsetto singing and willingness to mash-up pop genres that would make the Maels cult heroes are in full bloom on SPARKS, and we'll give the set another spin now to wish Russell a happy birthday!