Sparks’ Storytelling + Artful Arrangements = ‘The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte’

What can I possibly say about ‘your favorite band’s favorite bands’ that hasn’t been said before? Sparks have influenced many of my beloved musical geniuses – from Duran Duran and New Order to Björk and Depeche Mode.

Perhaps, your favorite geniuses’ favorite geniuses would be the proper description.

I’ve always been attracted to eclectic music that entertains. Sparks fit in that category. Some friends didn’t understand them or my love for them. In 2021, that changed upon the release of the Edgar Wright documentary, The Sparks Brothers. The ones that snubbed them thought they were hip and avant garde. Hello, what have I been telling you for the last few decades?!? 

The title track of their latest record – the 26th LP in their discography – is “The GirI Is Crying In Her Latte,” and it pulls you in like a magnet and provokes you to bust a move… even though so many people are sobbing in their hot espresso drinks. The video that accompanies this song is a delight with Cate Blanchette dancing exactly the way I envisioned. “Veronica Lake” follows with an homage to the femme fatale with peek-a-boo hair. “Nothing Is As Good As It Seems” and “Escalator” keep that pace, providing a touch of humor with a side of contemplation. This is not a big surprise, though. Sparks have been doing this time and time again through the years.

“The Mona Lisa’s Packing, Leaving Late Tonight” is a fever dream that I want to keep repeating nightly. “You Were Meant For Me” is a sugary, sweet rollercoaster much like Candymonium at Hershey Park. The next song,“Not Well Defined,” is a bit more melancholy, but “We Go Dancing” flips the script with orchestral verve. It’s lively and thought-provoking. “When You Leave” is a hilarious spit-out-your-coffee song. (Trust me, that really happened.) “Take Me For A Ride” is a tale of Johnny, an outlaw hitchhiker running away in a Chevy Powerglide with Laura behind the wheel. Johnny implores Laura to go faster. The funny thing is that you wind up rooting for the main character, even if he did break the law.

“It’s Sunny Today” makes me yearn for the shore. In contrast, “A Love Story” is frantic and robotic but I love it with a passion. The track “It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way” is hopeful, though, and gives the listener a different point of view. “Gee, That Was Fun” wraps up this eccentric rock record with an epic ballad of sorts. These lyrics: “Wish I had more dumb photographs / Wish I’d recorded all your laughs / Wish I had kept your Christmas cards,” are fitting. 

The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte is the Mael brothers’ (Ron and Russell, respectively) new release and it is as refreshing and relevant as their breakthrough record, Kimono My House, and many subsequent offerings. If you are looking for 14 songs of fabulousness, I present this album to you.