Sparks - seminal finalists


Sparks have been blowing minds for nearly three decades with their unique off-kilter magic. Hamish Brown gets down and worships

With their foray into mainstream consciousness amounting to one song ('This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us') and some fetching face-furniture, Sparks, with a long career of uncompromising concept pop, are the perfect candidates for a stage curated by evangelists of eclecticism, Optimo.

OK, so cherry-picking from the 21-album rollercoaster of quality control that is their back catalogue might be musical Russian roulette, but that's part of their appeal. Like Prince, if he were split into two brothers and worshipped as the god of operatic glam-pop instead of funk, the brothers Mael just don't give a shit. Like all great artists, we take them as they are.

In preparation, an easy to digest starter package might consist of seminal glam-pop template Kimono My House, recent return to form Hello Young Lovers and No 1 in Heaven, their 1979 collaboration with synthpop overlord Georgio Moroder. The best arch electronic pop band ever. And don't give me the Pet Shop Boys either. Sparks invented the Pet Shop Boys.

Sparks play Unknown Pleasures Tent, Fri.


Returning for a second year after its successful debut the boutique festival has corralled headliners Kasabian, Manic Street Preachers, Bloc Party, Paolo Nutini, Grinderman, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros and Goldfrapp. There will be five stages: 'The Oyster stage', 'Guitars and other Machines', 'Manicured Noise', 'Unknown…

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