Hello Young Lovers


BMG Records, 2022


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Originally released in 2006, this 20th album from the Los Angeles duo Sparks continues on with the orchestral and classical moments of their previous record, Lil' Beethoven. However, there is greater focus on drums and guitar here, as the concept album explores the dynamics of modern love.

The album's second single, “Dick Around,” opens the listen and is a lot more serious than the title implies, and recruits swift, harmonic singing and quick strings for the theatrical sounding lead off. “Perfume” follows, and brings gritty guitar and warm keys, where playful drumming enters the rhythmic climate.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Elsewhere, “(Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country” is a vocally strong and musically melodic 6 minutes, while “Rock, Rock, Rock” is a more tense and firm display of dramatic strings and expressive singing. “Metaphor,” one of the album's best, then bounces and flows with a charming demeanor of adventurous piano amid the bright and soaring voices.

The final two songs, the shortest and longest of the bunch, are “There's No Such Things As Aliens” and “As I Sit Down To Play The Organ At The Notre Dame Cathedral.” The former relies on repetition to make an impression, and the latter is populated by intricate guitar and moody organ to exit on a very memorable note.

Not so surprisingly, Hello Young Lovers was a commercial success for the duo, and climbed up to #66 on the UK Album Chart. Ron and Russell Mael (i.e. Sparks) are joined by Tammy Glover (drums), Dean Menta (guitars), Jim Wilson (guitar) and Steven Shane McDonald (bass), and it's quite clear the album has aged well since this reissue landed at #14 on the UK Independent Albums Chart.

The vinyl version is spread across 2 albums of 180G black vinyl. The CD and digital versions contain a pair of bonus tracks; an alternate version of “(Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country,” and a cover of “We Are The Clash.” A very innovative outing, Sparks somehow touch on opera and electronica on this body of work.

Rating: B

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