First Trailer: New Doc ‘The Sparks Brothers’ is About Pretty Much the Coolest Band Ever
At a particularly, wonderfully absurdist moment in the first trailer for the new documentary film The Sparks Brothers, Taylor Swift / Lana Del Rey / Lorde producer Jack Antonoff outlandishly proclaims, “All pop music is rearranged Sparks – that’s the truth.”
It’s not, of course – obviously. But such is the undiminished mania for pop’s most enduring, and enduringly bizarre duo, brothers Ron and Russell Mael – otherwise known as, well, Sparks (and thus the film’s title). Emerging from Los Angeles with their head-tilting 1971 debut album Halfnelson, they were so busy taking the piss (out of essentially everything), that surely at least half of their fans would ultimately mistake them, and still do, for being British. But no mind, as they could have just as likely been from Uranus (a joke they have probably already themselves made).
Tracks like ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’ and ‘Beat the Clock’ were ridiculously perfect modern pop masterstrokes, that should have sold 10 million copies each across the globe. And that particular injustice is likely acknowledged in the very title of their classic single ‘Number One in Heaven’ – as we’re guessing all their songs were. (Though their last three albums have actually all gone Top 20 in the UK).
The long overdue doc – in theaters June 18 via Focus Features – is helmed by Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, who assembled a head-spinning collection of cultural luminaries to giddily sing their praises. In the trailer alone we see Beck, Flea, Steve Jones, Duran Duran, Fred Armisen, Jonathan Schwartzman, The Go-Go’s’ Jane Wiedlin (she recorded the 1983 single ‘Cool Places’ with them), and comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, who enthuses, “There are throwaway riffs that other bands have built whole careers out of.” And the clip also recalls the moment when John Lennon called up Ringo Starr and gasped, “You won’t believe what’s on the television.” It was Sparks.
But perhaps their never having achieved the megastardom they deserved is most pithily summed up by disco legend Giorgio Morodor, who observes of their music, “It was the sound of the future.” And sure enough, that future has arrived, and it’s not nearly as cool as Sparks – who are still, weirdly enough, the sound of the future.