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Sparks Indiscreet album cover
3.01 | 33 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

A1 Hospitality on Parade 3:58
A2 Happy Hunting Ground 3:44
A3 Without Using Hands 3:19
A4 Get in the Swing 4:00
A5 Under the Table With Her 2:19
A6 How Are You Getting Home? 2:56
B1 Pineapple 2:42
B2 Tits 4:56
B3 It Ain't 1918 2:05
B4 The Lady Is Lingering 3:40
B5 In the Future 2:13
B6 Looks, Looks, Looks 2:32
B7 Miss the Start, Miss the End 2:46


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Richard Creamer Photography
Norman "Dinky" Diamond Drums
Ian Hampton Bass
Ron Mael Keyboards, Vocals
Russell Mael Vocals
Tony Visconti Producer
Trevor White Guitar

Releases information

1975 Island LP # 89434-1

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Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Imports 2006
Audio CD$5.15
$4.31 (used)
indiscreet LPindiscreet LP
$10.00 (used)
Universal Japan 2009
Audio CD$78.20
$64.99 (used)

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SPARKS Indiscreet ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SPARKS Indiscreet reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rune2000
2 stars After two successful releases, which both spawned a few hit singles, it was inevitable that Sparks would start to decline in both quality and popularity sooner or later. Unfortunately this decline came much earlier than anyone would expect and the lukewarm response from the mainstream audience became obvious with the release of Indiscreet.

The album doesn't seem all that different from their previous releases at first but the long term growth potential is clearly not there. On a plus side, Indiscreet might be considered the most consistent offering from Sparks in the '70s, meaning that the songwriting almost never reaches the higher tops but it doesn't drop below average either. This is of course isn't much consolation for the fans especially after somewhat of a streak that Sparks had going for them.

I always got the feeling Russell Mael sounded uninspired on this album, as if he had something better to do and only recorded the album as part of the obligation to various parties. One major difference with Indiscreet is that it doesn't begin with an explosive intro number that would kick the album in the right direction. Hospitality On Parade is a great song but far from any of the openers both before and even after it. If I had my say then I would much rather see a track like In The Future start the album, but I wasn't even born when that decision was made, so there's always that excuse.

On the whole, Indiscreet is a forgettable album that passes by almost unnoticed. There is literally not a single composition here that I feel is worth revisiting, which might explain why I rarely listen to this album. Give it a go if you're a huge fan of the previous releases and feel that you want to hear more from the band's '70s output, but don't expect anything spectacular.

**** star songs: Hospitality On Parade (3:58) Happy Hunting Ground (3:44) Under the Table With Her (2:19) The Lady Is Lingering (3:40) In The Future (2:12) Miss The Start, Miss The End (2:46)

*** star songs: Without Using Hands (3:19) Get In The Swing (4:08) How Are You Getting Home? (2:56) Pineapple (2:44) Tits (4:56) It Ain't 1918 (2:07) Looks, Looks, Looks (2:35)

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars This album initiates an odd "wandering" period in the band's life (consisting of this one, Big Beat and Introducing Sparks), in which the band kept making albums that were definitely good but that were also unsatisfying in some way that prompted Russell and Ron to completely change things up after they were finished making them. The main supporting musicians (Ian Hampton on bass, Trevor White on guitar, Norman Diamond on drums) for Indiscreet all had played on Propaganda, but in an effort to shake things up the band brought in Tony Visconti to produce, and while Tony had been responsible for some tremendous production jobs at this point, something about this combination just didn't click. It would be wrong to say that all of the glam-pop elements of Kimono and Propaganda are gone (for instance, "Happy Hunting Grounds" sounds just like a slightly weaker version of "Amateur Hour" or "At Home, At Work, At Play"), but they're much less prominent, and they're replaced with a mix of material that's both weird and strangely bland in aggregate. A list of all of the different genres and approaches taken on this album, in a vacuum, should leave me expecting the album to be a spastic good time, but while I certainly enjoy the album much more than not, I also find it surprisingly dull (largely because of the pacing; more on that later).

It doesn't help that, like its predecessors, it has some ideas that I continue to find more than a bit obnoxious. Holy hell does the Russell-penned "Pineapple" annoy me; it's another excursion into the world of music hall, which had tended to work out well for the band in the past, but the way Russell sings the title as he alternates with lyrics that extol the virtues of the fruit is another one of those Sparks ideas that I wish had stayed unrecorded. "How Are You Getting Home" starts off with 15 seconds that are absolutely on par with the more inspired moments of the last couple of albums, and the song is nice whenever some variation of that initial snippet returns, but I could live without any of the bits based around Russell singing the title like a spazz. "In the Future" taps into the kind of "Jetsons Glam" approach that Roxy Music dabbled with in their first two albums, and I somewhat like the incongruous splicing of Baroque-style organ passages into the song, but the track is just a mess (and its most memorable parts, the falsetto "Future! Future" and "Innnnn theeee future!!" Russell backing vocals, are also its most obnoxious).

Most of the rest of the album is pretty interesting, though, once you can get beyond things like the general lack of punch in the sound (especially in Russell's vocals). The opening "Hospitality on Parade" might well be the weakest of the remaining tracks, but I've decided that that's because it sounds like a Propaganda track ripped from the supporting features that made Propaganda tracks so interesting. If it had stronger production and was a little faster the various ideas would probably sound better to me.

The other eight tracks roughly divide half into "cute novelty genre exercises" and "full-fledged interesting songs," and I like all of the tracks in both groups (unfortunately, all but one of the novelty exercises is on the first half, and all of the full-fledged interesting tracks are on the second half). "Without Using Hands" is a piano-based music hall ditty about people in Paris doing various things (you guessed it) without using their hands, culminating in a hotel manager getting his hands blown off in an explosion. "Get in the Swing" is basically big- band parade music with a simple chorus and hilariously unfocused lyrics (the one that rambles about salmon and ties it back into something romantic is a crackup). "Under the Table with Her" is chamber music (mostly based around strings but with a recorder in one spot) that appears to be about eating dinner with the dog because people treat the dog well, and "Looks, Looks, Looks" is dead-on swing-era jazz about how, when it comes to attracting women, your other features don't matter if you don't have good looks. I admit that none of these would come immediately to mind if I was asked to put together a list of my favorite 25 or so Sparks tracks (though "Looks, Looks, Looks" might come close), but they're enjoyable when on.

Among the "full-fledged" songs (I don't mean to imply that the others aren't fully formed, but I don't know how to better describe these songs in relation to the genre exercises), the best (not just of this set but of the whole album as well) and most notorious is definitely "Tits." Lyrically, the song depicts a man drunkenly ranting about his marital problems to a bartender (momentarily accusing Harry of maybe being the one breaking up his home, before feeling sorry for it and apologizing), centered around the fact that his wife is now primarily using her breasts for feeding his son Joe, as opposed to other things. Musically, it's really fascinating, full of changes in mood from lilting to bombastic angst, all centered around the great Russell delivery of the lines "So drink Harry, drink Harry, drink 'til you can't drink no more of anything/No more of anything/Drink Harry, drink 'til you can drink no more." Yup, if there's a major reason to listen to Indiscreet, it's definitely "Tits."

As with "Tits," the other three tracks combine interesting music with fascinating glimpses into Ron Mael's musings on relationships between men, women and society at large. "It Ain't 1918" is fiddle-based music about a happy couple who got married after World War I and decided to keep everything about themselves the same way as it was when they met, upsetting neighbors and friends who think they're weird and that they shouldn't be allowed to be happy in the way they want to be happy. "The Lady is Lingering" is a more "traditional" Sparks number based around piano and guitar, this time filled with astonished musings upon realizing that the girl he's on a date with hasn't yet offered any of the standard excuses for needing to go home, and it's full of danger and tension to match the uncertainty of the situation. And finally, "Miss the Start, Miss the End" starts as a rant against people who arrive late for and leave early from shows, only to acknowledge that they're finding joy in life from something other than the event they're consuming, and it has quite a happy chorus to contrast with the melancholy verses.

This is an album that I want to like more than I do, based on the individual tracks within it, but I've always found this a surprisingly hard album to want to listen to. The fact that so many of the genre exercise tracks (which are fun, but don't really rise beyond the level of "cute") are crammed into the first half (where they are easily the best part of that half), with the meatier material crammed into the second (unfortunately sharing space with "Pineapple" and "In the Future"), makes it so that I've pretty much checked out by the time the best stuff comes around. A significantly reordered version of the album (even without removing the tracks I really dislike), with at least one track between each of the genre exercise tracks (as opposed to lining them up in a row), and at least one track between each of "Tits," "It's Ain't 1918" and "The Lady is Lingering," would probably merit consideration of a higher grade from me. As is, I'm content to listen to individual tracks from this from time to time, but I can't imagine feeling in the mood for 70s Sparks and picking this over Kimono or Propaganda (or, for that matter, Introducing Sparks). Lots of fans tend to love this, though.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Sparks' Indiscreet finds the brothers Mael taking their idiosyncratic glam rock style to flamboyant, nigh-operatic extremes. Rarely have they camped it up harder than on cuts like Hospitality On Parade. Their harder edge is retained on cutting instrumental interjections that stand as stark counterpoints to the melodramatic vocal delivery, and the ridiculous lyrics of songs such as "Tits" adds a side order of deliberate farce to proceedings. Representing the natural conclusion of the cycle of musical development begun on Kimono My House and continued on Propaganda, Indiscreet finds Sparks delivering their ultimate glam statement, and whilst some will find it a disaster on the scale of the plane crash on the cover, others will admire its daring.

For my part, I find myself somewhere in the middle. Whilst it is interesting to hear them go full operatic, at the same time the wild danger of albums like Kimono My House seems to have bled away here, making this the most anemic and mild-mannered of the triptych this album rounds off and consequently making it the least of the three.

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