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Kimono My House Extra tracks, Import, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Import, April 22, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered and expanded reissue of Ron and Russell Mael's 1974 breakthrough album featuring three bonus tracks: 'Barbecutie', 'Lost And Found' and 'Amateur Hour' (Live). Island. 2006.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22, 2008)
  • Hk Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B000I8NGIW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,421 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Sparks Store

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Top Customer Reviews

By Robert H. Nunnally Jr. on December 21, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ron and Russell Mael tried a curious experiment with their third album. Sparks had established itself in Los Angeles in the very early 1970s as a club act based on their deep appreciation for the early sixties Britpop acts, and in particular the Kinks. They had developed a following at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, they had released two effective albums with their fellow bandmates the Mankey brothers (yes, the producer and later the Concrete Blonde member), they had had a very minor hit with "Wonder Girl", and they had made some initial media breakthroughs. They had not, unfortunately, sold enough records to earn a living--remember, this was years before new wave bands like the Jam made a living from such homage to an era only eight to ten years removed. The Maels reacted with a daring gambit. They had not impressed America with their Britpop sound--so why not sell their Britpop to Brits? They promptly moved to London, hired a Britpop backing band, tilted the lyrics decisively into rapid-fire Gilbert and Sullivan territory, and changed the sound into, of all things-- guitar-pop Kinks-drenched, ringing guitar, British 19th Century music hall singalong. The band used Russell's fantastically melodic and piercingly high falsetto as the centerpiece and principal driving weapon of the affair. Kimono My House is the first of two resulting records based on this sound. The whole thing improbably works, making this one of the great underappreciated acts of pop genius released in its era. Ron Mael's lyrics are laden with light opera humor, and are intelligent, contemporary, and indelibly odd. Lyrically, Sparks in this era sounds like the Residents might sound if the Residents wrote songs targeted at 12 year old girls.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Sparks has been around a long time and continue to release intriguing CD's, but their third effort remains my favorite. After two quirky and ignored albums issued as Halfnelson, the California brothers Ron and Russell Mael changed their name to Sparks, recorded "Kimono My House" (1974), and achieved stardom in England and throughout Europe.

This CD yielded 2 number one British hits: "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" and "Amateur Hour". Their sound was a winning combination of Queen, Roxy Music, Beach Boys, and Kinks. Ron writes great songs, and Russell equals Freddie Mercury in the falsetto department. Exciting, funny, fun - there's not enough superlatives to describe this.

They followed up with their album "Propaganda", which was good, but tried a little too hard to duplicate the successful formula of Kimono. Their next effort "Indiscreet" was a great one, as were "Big Beat" (an attempt at straight-forward arena rock), and "Angst In My Pants" (punkier - fast, short and catchy).

They then abandoned rock for a while and became semi-disco "dance music" stars. Great albums from this period are "No.1 In Heaven", "In Outer Space", "Music That You Can Dance To", and "Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins". No matter which genre they work in, all their records are infused with their trademark wit and good humor.

Sparks has put out 21 CD's as of this writing. I'm a big fan and have them all, but the truth is - some are better than others. The 8 I've singled out (9, if you count "Propaganda") are their best and most consistently good - and highly recommended. If that's more than you'd like to spend, there's the excellent 2-CD compilation "Profile: The Ultimate Sparks Collection".

Years ago a rock critic wrote: "Sparks fans remain loyal because they know the band offers kicks you can't find anywhere else". He was right.
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By A Customer on February 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I remember my first brush with Sparks -- somewhere around 1974, when I was in college. I believe it was on one of those late-night weekend TV shows that were popping up in response to the Midnight Special -- where they showed footage of contemporary bands' live stage acts. Anyway, there they were in all their glory -- three guys banging away with a hard rock beat, Russell Mael prancing around like a babe magnet and Ron Mael as the Hitler look-alike with the straight-ahead stare tapping away on the keyboard. I wasn't quite sure what to make of them at first -- especially since most of the footage I saw came complete with continuous squeals from the live audience, so much so that I couldn't hear the music very well. I hadn't seen anything like that since watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan years before. Anyway, I bought Kimono My House and was both amazed and entertained by its catchy beats and incomparable lyrics. It's not only fun, it's smart. There are a couple songs I'm not crazy about -- much like Sparks' next album, Propaganda -- but as a whole, this album sent my musical taste in a whole new direction. Of course, that purchase was made on vinyl and I haven't played any of my records in many, many years (mainly because it's difficult to find a new needle). So I bought this CD on-line a couple months ago and started living my fond remembrances all over again. My enjoyment, I'm happy to say, is no less in 2000 than it was in 1974. Viva la Sparks.
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Format: Audio CD
This is my first venture into the ever so slightly odd world of Sparks, and what a revelation! The thing that strikes me most about this album is how undated nearly all of the tracks sound. There's some lovely, chunky guitar riffs that you can really get your teeth into, and the bass and drums mesh perfectly together forming some really tight and catchy tunes. It's a flawless and direct sound that grabs you, plays with your mind a bit and then leaves you wanting more. Add to mix the unique but absolutely suited vocal talents of Russell Mael, as well as brother Ron Mael's predilection for choosing odd subject matter for lyrics, and you've got yourself something that is unequivocally eccentric and sounds like nothing else you've ever heard. Rarely have I listened to a recording with such instant, but lasting appeal. Was this really made in 1974?
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