Thursday, November 5, 2009

Is There More to Life than Dancing? (1979)

Bonus non-Sparks material! Well, sort of. What happened, you see, was that, after the success of No. 1 in Heaven, the Maels apparently decided they wanted to go beyond disco-pop and do some straight up, unapologetic, disco. So, they wrote and produced this EP/album which is credited to a mysterious singer named "Noel," about whom about the only thing anyone can say is that it's not the same "Noel" who had a hit with 1987's "Silent Morning." Wrong gender, for one thing.

Disco, indeed: only five songs, four of them in two-each medley form, with a lot of long instrumental grooving. You do kinda want stomp to them in a discotheque. It isn't all fantastic, but some of it is, and the only really uninteresting thing is the final track, "I Want a Man," where Noel reiterates over and over that she wants a man, wants a man, wants a man--not a boy, not a boy, not a boy. Not too riveting. The lyrics are mostly better than that, though. The best track, "The Night They Invented Love," features a great, incredibly seductive lyrical conceit, done very well. "Dancing Is Dangerous" trails off a bit at the end but it starts well, and when it segues into the title track (on which, though I wouldn't swear to it, I'm pretty sure it's Russell doing the "is there more to life than dancing; is there more to life?" refrain) it really picks up steam. "Au Revoir," the shortest song, is also a winner, albeit a bit slight.

An extremely worthwhile one-off. Only released on long-out-of-print vinyl, but you can easily find it on one or another of teh internets.

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