The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte
The prolific Los Angeles duo Sparks have returned with their 26th record, The Girl is Crying in Her Latte, a 14-song collection of eclectic instrumentation and irresistibly catchy additions to the band’s extensive catalogue.
The record launches into stride with the title track’s infectious abrasiveness, relying on buzzsaw synths and a dancefloor beat to set the tone for a wildly fluid record, a record held together not by theme or consistent sound, but by the fact that this is Sparks and this is the record that brothers Ron and Russell Mael wanted to make.
The strong opener is followed by “Veronica Lake” a watery, synth-ridden homage to the women who worked the assembly lines during World War II. So many new keyboard sounds enter the song that it becomes pleasantly easy to lose yourself in the wash of textures and swells. “Take Me For A Ride” is a breakneck adventure, soundtracked by xylophones, woodwinds and later joined by a detuned, chugging, metal rhythm guitar that makes the music that precedes it sound haunted in retrospect.
The sneakily stately “The Mona Lisa’s Packing, Leaving Late Tonight” incorporates regal brass blares behind a relentless pounding of the drums, a pounding so emphatic that it’s impossible the drummer wasn’t hitting the perfect center of each piece of his set.
Closing track “Gee, That Was Fun” reflects the record it concludes, subverting expectations and settling into grooves seamlessly between miniature piano suites. The title is befitting of what sounds like a positive experience, but Russell sings “Gee, if I’d have known/ I’d have been less on my phone/ I’d have been more in the zone/ If I had known.” What began as a salutation to the listener ends as a decrying of the way technology can overtake lives, a somewhat sobering end to a record that acted as a release in its most fun moments.
<em>The Girl is Crying in Her Latte</em> is energetic, fresh and tasteful music made by two brothers in their 70s who have been around for countless shifts and eras in the genres their music resides in, and they manage to adapt to these changes and embrace them without losing an ounce of originality.
There’s a lot of emphasis on pop music when discussing Sparks, but it’s not out of the question to simply define their latest release as purely music, given the massive spread of instrumentation and influences. It’s music made by music lovers.
Pre-order The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte by Sparks HERE
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