|SPARKS - PROPAGANDA
REVIEW BY MARTIN TRUKSA
| Propaganda L.P. sleeve 1974 |
Sparks : Propaganda (Island Records) 1974 :-
'Propaganda' could easily have been called 'Kimono My House Part 2' as it is very similar to its predecessor. However both 'Kimono' and 'Propaganda' are radically different from the earlier Bearsville albums and subsequent Island albums.
'Propaganda' is a classic rock album, complete with hard hitting guitars, thumping bass, pounding drums and manic falsetto-style vocals. There is an energy and forcefulness to the songs that Sparks have never quite managed to replicate since. The album was a Top 10 hit in the UK.
The album cover was shot on the south coast of England in a gale force wind. It was freezing. The photographer had originally suggested that the Maels be bound and gagged and dropped from an airplane with parachutes on and he would photograph them from the air as he too descended. The siblings declined his offer.
Both the singles 'Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth' and 'Something For The Girl With Everything' were UK Top 20 hits.
By now Sparks were well established in the UK and regulars on 'Top of The Pops'. It is ironic that, in concert, Sparks were performing hard hitting rock songs from 'Propaganda' like 'At Home At Work At Play' and 'Thanks But No Thanks', yet screaming young girls were throwing themselves deliriously at Russell's feet. There was even a danger at one stage that the teeny bop fans might drive away the traditional Sparks fans who had followed the group from the early days.
I have to confess that I prefer 'Propaganda' to 'Kimono My House', although both are classic Sparks albums. There are some particularly strong tracks on 'Propaganda' which give it the edge over its predecessor. 'Reinforcements' almosts sounds like a militrary chant, ("Reinforcements, reinforcements, I could use a strong rear guard") , conjuring up images of Russell leading his troops to war. 'Don't Leave Me Alone With Her' is an incredibly melodic yet forceful ballad, and Russell sings the chorus in almost frenzied desperation, fearful of being left alone with 'her' ("And if you all go, who'll say no to her?"). And 'Bon Voyage' is an unbelievably gorgeous ballad. Pure heaven! The chorus in particular is highly melodious and the song fades out in spectacular style.
For lyrics to Sparks 'Propaganda', including credits, please click on the link to the left.
Tracks:- Propaganda, At Home At Work At Play, Reinforcements, B.C., Thanks But No Thanks, Don't Leave Me Alone With Her, Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth, Something For The Girl With Everything, Achoo, Who Don't Like Kids, Bon Voyage
Sparks : Propaganda (Home)