Album: In Outer Space (Atlantic,1983) Chart pos: US#49
The 80’s eh, an era of cocaine, neo-liberal economics, mass unemployment, bad fashion, the Cold War and (mostly) bad music, when even respected musicians like Bob Dylan and Neil Young were churning out bad synth-rock. But after a recent critical reexamination the eighties are seen by many as not being so bad after all especially with the current Wonky Pop zeitgeist (another faddish psuedo-genre invented by NME) which includes popular groups like La Roux, Ladyhawke and Alphabeat emulating 80’s synth-driven new wave. It’s a surprise that Sparks new-wavy 80’s material hasn’t been given a critical reappraisal due to the eighties revival fad.
One of the brothers Mael’s better albums of this era was In Outer Space, the opening track and lead single Cool Places actually gave the brothers a modest hit in their own country. With its bouncy synths and guest vocal from The Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin it couldn’t be more new wave if they tried any harder. Even so it remains one of their better moments since they said goodbye to blighty. In the video Ron manages to look like some evil 40’s bank manager whose been dragged into the 80’s while Russell is wearing a horrid pink suit and sporting a rather bad haircut.
Here’s a pretty terrible cover version from 80’s children’s TV show Kids Incorporated