Local Canberran. Reluctant member of the Smashed Avo set. Lover of the classics.
A must-see doco on your favourite band's favourite band
The Sparks Brothers is a fascinating documentary about real-life brothers Russell and Ron Mael and their real-life band, Sparks. Despite a career spanning 25 albums, hundreds of foot-stomping pop songs, two continents, sporadic cult status in France and Germany and other parts of Europe, and five decades (literally!), I'd never heard of them.
The Sparks Brothers
Like the brothers, the doco – part art show, part rock show, part cinematic history – is odd but smart and funny and compelling. It traces the brothers' musical rollercoaster from 1960s California to 70s Britain and back again and so on and so forth. Just as they're on the cusp of superstardom, popular musical tastes and attitudes change. A new sound falls flat. A visa doesn't come through. Sparks have had just as many lows as highs in their career but with each knock, they get back up again; their most recent album – the soundtrack and score to the forthcoming film Annette – was released only last month.
Sparks' story is one of reinvention, of never comprising on your music, of being comfortable in your own skin, and of old musos keeping the music alive. And whether you've heard of them or not, The Sparks Brothers has something for everyone; it's fascinating at times, funny at others, and it's a privilege to learn about this band (or this enigma, depending on which perspective you take) through the stories of their bandmates, managers, peers and fans.
The Sparks Brothers opened at Dendy Canberra on 8 July. The Dendy is putting on several screenings every day for the next week and I highly recommend you get there. There's nothing better than a cold drink and a choc top sitting in a comfy movie theatre on a cold Winter's day!
Me? I've just joined the 600,000 monthly listeners of Sparks on Spotify.