Exotic Creatures Of The Deep


BMG Records, 2022


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The 21st album from the sibling duo Sparks, Exotic Creatures Of The Deep originally arrived in 2008 (this review covers the 2022 reissue) and expands from the success of 2006’s Hello Young Lovers into more creative areas of pop, as well as hosting perhaps some of the best song titles in history. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

After the minute-long “Intro” which hosts the sounds of a dreamy choir, “Good Morning” bursts into piano-driven pop that's armed with falsetto singing and plenty of warm melody. “Strange Animal” then flows with a playful baroque-pop demeanor, and “I Can't Believe That You Would Fall For The Crap In This Song” employs their signature warm synth buzzing and plenty of quirkiness that's quite soulful, too.

On the back half of the listen, “I've Never Been High” is particularly memorable with its mature piano and well-timed drumming, while “Lighten Up, Morrissey” is particularly clever rocker that makes great use of thumping drums, spirited guitar and a very harmonic chorus you won't soon forget.

Near to the end, the tense “The Director Never Yelled ‘Cut’” relies on eerie keys and haunting strings alongside soothing vocals, and “Photoshop” displays dancing keys and pretty singing in a cinematic sort of way. “Likeable” finishes the listen and might remind you of both Queen and The Beach Boys as the brothers deliver a very distinct version of pop.

Exotic Creatures Of The Deep climbed pretty high to 54 on the UK Album Chart, and spotlights Ron and Russel Mael’s clever observations on love, romance and sex. Russel’s falsetto is flawless across the listen, and the use of dense guitars certainly mixes well with the heavy amount of keys and electronica.

The CD version of this remastered reissue comes with five bonus tracks, while the double-LP sticks with the original tracks. Perhaps not the most immediately striking body of work from Sparks, repeated listens will settle in quite nicely.

Rating: B

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