Legendary American art-pop band Sparks have released a new single, ‘So May We Start’, with a video featuring Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, and Simon Helberg, the stars of the new film Annette.
Annette is the first English language film from French director Leos Carax, the warped mind behind the utterly bonkers and weirdly beautiful Holy Motors. Sparks wrote all the songs and co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming film.
“Initially, we conceived Annette as another Sparks album,” the Mael Brothers explained in a statement. “Yet this time it would be a narrative story that would consist of three main characters, a small enough ensemble that would allow us to also present the ‘opera’ live on tour… The music, story and album were finished and ready to go, which is where the story takes a huge detour. After meeting Leos at Cannes, we felt a real kinship, so we thought we would send him Annette, not expecting anything other than to show him what Sparks was currently up to. And lo and behold, he said he really liked the album and would like to consider it as his next project.”
There are some that know Sparks as a groundbreaking, genre-defying duo who expanded the experimental boundaries of rock music through a five-decade career in music. And there are those who know Sparks as a blip on the ’70s glam rock radar with the bizarro hit ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both Us’.
If you fall into the latter camp, might I recommend the upcoming Edgar Wright-directed documentary on the band, The Sparks Brothers, which features testimonials from collaborators like Giorgio Moroder, The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin, and Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, plus admirers like Beck, Flea, Weird Al’ Yankovic, Thurston Moore, Steve Jones, and Jack Antonoff. The whole “recapping a band’s full career” documentary is a bit tired, but if there’s any band that can breathe new air into old genre, it’s Sparks.
The last single from the band was the Todd Rundgren-produced ‘Your Fandango’, representing the band’s second team up with the similarly iconic progressive pop auteur nearly 50 years after reproduced the band’s debut album. Rundgren is riding a new wave of adulation following the announcement of his indication into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Shame Fame, and a rediscovery of sorts is happening with much of his fantastic back catalogue.
Perhaps something similar can happen with Sparks upon the release of The Sparks Brothers, but I would honestly be surprised if it does. The Mael Brothers are simply too elusive and flighty in their musical drive, too unwilling to play the mainstream industry games. They are a cult band through and through, and that’s likely what they’ll stay forever. They’re almost certainly all the better for it.
Check out the video for ‘So May We Start’ down below. Annette will be released in France on July 6, and hopefully elsewhere not too long afterwards, but we are currently without an official intention release date.