Hippopotamus: Sparks (BMG)

Sparks have been making music for more than 40 years and Hippopotamus is their 23rd album.

They are a hard group to classify. Brother Ron and Russell Mael share a unique world vision which is reflected in their idiosyncratic work.

Musically the songs are a mixture of glam, traditional rock and playful pop, while lyrically the topics are extremely quirky. Titles on the new album include Scandinavaian Design (about a woman who is more interested in her furniture than her relationships) and Life With The Macbeths (about a reality TV show fosusing on Shakespeare's dysfunctional and murderous couple).

So Tell Me Mrs Lincoln Aside From That How Was The Play? has shades of Franz Ferdinand, who Sparks collaborated with (as FFS) for an album and some shows in recent years.

There are numerous potential singles on Hippopotamus, including What The Hell Is It This Time?, about an irritible God fed up with being constantly bothered by prayers relating to people's 'Band Aid affairs'.

My Favourite track is Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me), which is just a great song with an excellent driving beat.

Arch, inventive, beautifully produced, Hippopotamus continues the Sparks legend and has already rightly made the top ten in the album charts.

Andrew Thomas