Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brothers is more than a traditional rock doc. A visually glorious pop art paean to the shapeshifting nature of pop music, Ron and Russell Mael, aka Sparks, represent longevity, invention and playful erudition.
From their LA childhood on the beach, absorbing their artist father’s paintings, and being driven by their mother to see The Beatles, to the creation of their own surreal musical Annette with French auteur Leos Carax, the brothers have always walked a singular path, full of humour, good, bad taste and wilful left -turns. Who else could record bier halle romps, rock, glam, disco and electro pop with such conviction and brilliant wordplay ? It hasn’t always served them commercially, but they are always true to themselves, winning subsequent generations of admirers.
Wright’s signature visual style never overwhelms the narrative, and the Maels ‘ witty self- deprecation is a perfect fit for his love of fast -paced storytelling and jump cuts. Even the intro has hilarious meta gags
The talking heads are well chosen too, everyone from Flea to ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic speaking eloquently on why the Maels matter, fifty years after their tentative jump into the music industry.
The DVD has real treats: a typically energetic full -length concert from their home away from home, London, and some more funny and moving testimonials from fans, well-known and less so. For anyone with even a passing interest in all things Sparks, it’s absolutely intoxicating.