News: Universal to release Sparks box set – The Island Years

Aside from being (approximately) half of pop supergroup F.F.S. it shouldn’t be forgotten that Sparks, aka Ron and Russell Meal, were a rather brilliant group before their latest collaboration. For in those halcyon days of the 1970s, Top of the Pops and other popular cultural establishments were, if not awash with then certainly not unfamiliar places for the brothers, as Russell’s schizoid movements contrasted with Ron’s dour, unmoving stance at the keyboard, and that moustache? I remember being transfixed and possibly a little scared of the pair.

If that wasn’t enough to capture you – and lets be fair, why wouldn’t it?, then there was the music. Funny, theatrical, experimental, impossible to define, or explain, it brought the record buying public under their spell. Universal therefore are proposing to give a whole new generation of people the chance to fall for their quirky, individualistic pop (or indeed reacquaint) by re-releasing the bands four Island Records albums, all released originally between 1974-1976, in a heavyweight vinyl box set – Kimono My House, Propaganda, Indiscreet and Big Beat. Alongside that is a fifth LP, titled The Rest of Sparks (a play on words from their 1979 compilation, The Best of Sparks) featuring all of the band’s Island B-sides from the period, most of which have never previously been available on vinyl album, plus the tracks ‘Looks Aren’t Everything’ and ‘Intrusion/Confusion’ which are making their debut on vinyl.

The whole thing was done with the full involvement of the the Mael brothers, and was overseen by long-term associate Bill Inglot. It drops on 180GM Vinyl on November 27th. Pre-order now from SoundOfVinyl

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