|SPARKS - ANGST IN MY PANTS
REVIEW BY MARTIN TRUKSA
Sparks : Angst In My Pants (Atlantic Records) 1982 :-
Where the hell was this album recorded? In the Mael brothers' bedroom? In a closet? In a shoebox? 'Angst in My Pants' has a strangely muffled mix, lacking energy and fullness. Russell's vocals sound lifeless and drained of all emotion, and the various synthesizer sounds all seem to blend into one. Contrast this to the dark, galloping melodrama of 'Kimono My House', the glorious orchestral eloquence of `Indiscreet', or the cool, icy allure of 'No. One In Heaven'.
Ron Mael is renowned for writing oddball yet witty lyrics. Indeed lyrics are a main factor of Sparks' unfaltering popularity. However Ron's customary wit and sharp nous is sadly missing from most of the songs on 'Angst In My Pants'. For example, take the lyrics to the song 'Mickey Mouse', "And my name is Mickey Mouse, to my right is Minnie Mouse, and we overlook a house in Disneyland, California". Fans of this album may argue that there is hidden meaning behind the album's lyrics and that one should 'read between the lines', but I'm not convinced.
However 'Angst In My Pants' was really popular in Los Angeles, on 'K-Rock', the underground radio station. The station played a lot of Sparks’ 80s albums really extensively, so the songs on Angst were really visible, particularly on the West Coast of America. Thus Ron & Russell toured a lot in the States, just like when 'This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us' first broke big in England. And because Angst got played on indie radio stations, the Mael brothers got invited to appear on 'Saturday Night Live' with Danny De Vito as the host.
Sparks - Eaten By The Monster of Love ( Don't Let It Get Me ... )
But what about the tunes themselves? Unfortunately the songs aren't particularly strong either. There are a couple of standout tracks, namely 'Sherlock Holmes' and 'Nicotina', but the remaining songs are built around basic hooks and lack subtlety or passion.
Even the album's cover is a disappointment, picturing Ron and Russell as bride and groom against a shocking pink background.
In summary, 'Angst in My Pants' is a disappointing album, due to the stifled production and Ron Mael's uninspired songwriting. Ironically, Ron sums up the state of play quite precisely on the album's penultimate track - "First I stutter, then I stumble ... the decline and fall, the decline and fall, the decline and fall of me"
For complete lyrics to Sparks 'Angst In My Pants', click on the link to the left.
Full album track listing:- Angst In My Pants, I Predict, Sextown USA, Sherlock Holmes, Nicotina, Mickey Mouse, Moustache, Instant Weight Loss, Tarzan And Jane, The Decline And Fall Of Me, Eaten By The Monster Of Love. (Repertoire Records).
Sparks : Angst In My Pants