Sparks’ 26th studio album, The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte, is out today via Island Records. The Mael brothers are also on the road, and they arrive in DC to perform at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, June 30.
The new album marks Sparks’ first release on the venerable Island Records label in close to five decades and includes such instantly intriguing new musical vignettes as the title track (featuring a video starring Cate Blanchett), “Nothing Is As Good As They Say It Is,” “Veronica Lake,” and “Mona Lisa’s Packing, Leaving Late Tonight,” songs which once again display Sparks’ seemingly ceaseless ability to craft complete, intricately detailed stories within perfect three-and-a-half minute pop earworms.
All of these songs are characteristically timeless and unequivocally modern as The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte once again affirms that, after more than a half-century making such masterpieces, Sparks remain inimitable, ingenious, and, as ever, utterly one of a kind. The album is described by Ron and Russell Mael as a record that is “as bold and uncompromising as anything we did back then or, for that matter, anytime throughout our career.”
Watch the official music video for “The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte” by Sparks on YouTube:
Levels of interest in the work of Sparks are at heights unsurpassed in their more than 50-year career, with the ultimate cult band now centerstage in the full beam of the spotlight.
Most people, with even a passing acquaintance with Sparks, will know the basics by now. How Californian brothers Ron and Russell Mael, both students at UCLA, began making music together in the late Sixties, originally under the name Halfnelson. How their Top Of The Pops debut with “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” stunned a generation and nearly scored them a UK No. 1. How their career moved through many phases, including (but not limited to) art rock, glam, big band swing, electro-disco, new wave and synthpop, taking in collaborations with Todd Rundgren, Les Rita Mitsouko, Tony Visconti, Franz Ferdinand, and Giorgio Moroder.
How keyboardist and songwriter Ron’s intricate staccato arrangements combine with the acrobatic vocals in which Russell delivers his brother’s always-on-point lyrics. How Ron’s stillness and stern, intimidating visage contrasts onstage with Russell’s hyperactivity. How their popularity has spiked unpredictably in different territories at different times: Britain, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, and their homeland the United States. And how the influence of “the greatest band you’ve never heard of,” or “your favorite band’s favorite band,” has been recognized by successive generations of artists from Joy Division to Duran Duran to Depeche Mode to Bjork to Beck and beyond. Their influence on music cannot be overstated — as super-producer Jack Antonoff recently declared, “All pop music is re-arranged Sparks.”
Now into their sixth decade of making music, Sparks have never been more relevant, with studio albums Hippopotamus (2017) and A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (2020) both reaching No. 7 on the UK Official Albums Chart amidst global acclaim. Released in 2021, the lauded career-spanning documentary film The Sparks Brothers, directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver), brought an awareness of Sparks to parts they previously hadn’t reached.
Sparks’ 2021 film musical Annette, directed by Leos Carax and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, has been showered with awards, especially in France where the film won three Lumières Awards and five César Awards, including “Best Original Music” for Ron and Russell. In addition, the film’s “So May We Start” was shortlisted for “Best Original Song” at the 94th Academy Awards. Focus Features have recently announced plans to develop X-Crucior, a new musical epic written by Ron and Russell.
Friday, June 30
Doors @ 6:30pm