R4 70841 Interior Design
Produced by Ron Mael and Russell Mael
Released on 1988
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
R4 70841 cover  

S parks returned to recording after a four-year “vacation” recharged and ready to work. Interior Design isn’t a great album (those days were gone) but it is markedly better than their last record, suggesting the Maels had levelled off and reached a point where they could keep their hand in the game without folding and perhaps produce the occasional ace from their sleeve. Though the songs remain in the electronic/club DIY vein, the arrangements are livelier than last seen, featuring Spencer Sircombe on guitar and synthetic savvy that compares favorably to late-period Devo. Better still, Sparks had returned to their old lyrical haunts: sympathetic stalkers, playful pokes at that confounded four-letter word, a chance brush with fame. As only they can do, Sparks delivers these warped confections in such a deadpan manner that the humor takes a few spins to sink in. When it finally clicks, you may agree that Interior Design’s combination of humor and melody provides a one-two punch not seen since Angst. “Let’s Make Love,” “You Got A Hold of My Heart” and “The Toughest Girl In Town” are some of Russell’s sweetest candies, while the body & mind music of “So Important,” “Love-o-Rama” and “Just Got Back From Heaven” (a popular club single) are as good as anything on their last two records. Credit the band for finding a workable formula in the gloaming of their gifts, releasing an album of new music every five years or so to keep in touch with fans and slipping in the occasional single. Sparks had said what they had to say; that so many bands feel compelled to release product past their prime shortsells their accomplishments. I’d rather hear a good album like Interior Design infrequently than wade through underinspired product (Pulling Rabbits) to salvage one or two tracks. Note that the CD included extra tracks that didn't appear on the elpee or cassette versions. The record was later repackaged in some regions as Just Got Back From Heaven.

TRACK LISTING

  1. SO IMPORTANT
  2. JUST GOT BACK FROM HEAVEN
  3. LOTS OF REASONS
  4. YOU GOT A HOLD OF MY HEART
  5. LOVE-O-RAMA
  6. THE TOUGHEST GIRL IN TOWN
  7. LET'S MAKE LOVE
  8. STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE
  9. A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE
  10. MADONNA
  11. *MADONNA (3 LANGUAGE VERSIONS)
  12. *BIG BRASS RING
  13. *SO IMPORTANT (VERSION)

    All songs written by Ron Mael & Russell Mael

CREDITS

RON MAEL -- vocals, cover concept
RUSSELL MAEL -- keyboards
SPENCER SIRCOMBE -- guitars
JOHN THOMAS -- keyboards, engineer
Pamela Stonebrook -- backing vocals (2)
Peter Knego -- dance club promotion
Donald Krieger -- design
Christi Haydon -- photography

return to SPARKS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1988 Fine Art/Rhino LP/CD/CS R1/R4 70841 lyric sleeve, CD incl. extra tracks (*)
UK 1993 Success CD 16151 repackaged as JUST GOT BACK FROM HEAVEN
NET   Success CD 22505 repackaged as JUST GOT BACK FROM HEAVEN
  2001 Hallmark CD 30010 repackaged as JUST GOT BACK FROM HEAVEN

 

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