Arguably one of Sparks
' best albums, 1974's Kimono My House
finds the brothers Mael (Ron
wrote most the songs and played keyboards, while Russell
was the singing frontman) ingeniously playing their guitar- and keyboard-heavy pop mix on 12 consistently fine tracks. Adding a touch of bubblegum, and even some of Zappa
's own song-centric experimentalism to the menu, the Maels spruce up a sleazy Sunset Strip with a bevy of Broadway-worthy performances here: as the band expertly revs up the glam rock-meets-Andrew Lloyd Webber
sends things into space with his operatic vocals and ever-clever lyrics. And besides two of their breakthrough hits (the English chart-toppers "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" and "Amateur Hour"), the album features one of their often-overlooked stunners, "Here in Heaven." Essential.