Thursday, November 5, 2009

Retro-Boy, Retro-Girl, & Other Hits (1992)

Hey, look! It's a bootleg demo collection! And a surprisingly essential one, as it happens! One of the tracks, "Frankly, Scarlett, I Don't Give a Damn," would also appear on their next album (same version, same everything), but otherwise, this is all new territory. Some of the songs seem to be Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins demos, some demos from earlier in the eighties, a pair of tracks recorded with the French band Les Rita Mitsouko, and the totally great "National Crime Awareness Week," which I believe was written for some movie or other and which was later a limited-edition single, but which isn't readily available anywhere but here.

And it's mostly really good stuff. The aforementioned "National Crime Awareness Week" is super-atmospheric and cool, about a guy who commits crimes and feeds on the attention it gets him. "This Angry Young Man Ain't Angry No More" is a nice love song, "Live in Las Vegas" sounds like what I imagine would happen if Ron Mael teamed up with Jim Steinman, and OOH! OOH! OOH! the closing "Can Can," sung by a woman unhelpfully labeled as "Eleanor Roosevelt," is absolutely irresistible.

This is probably the most essential Sparks bootleg out there, even more, I would argue, than the Halfnelson Demos. The internet is your friend for finding obscure records like this one.

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