28 Jan 2018

New Horizons: nine songs by brothers

From New Horizons, 5:00 pm on 28 January 2018

William Dart has started the year listening to a number of brotherly musical partnerships.

The Lemon Twigs - Do Hollywood

The Lemon Twigs - Do Hollywood Photo: 4AD Records

It all began innocently when I was revisiting Don and Phil Everly, but then I added soul trimmings with the Chambers Brothers and the Neville Brothers, then went pop with The Beach Boys and the Bee Gees.

I've also brought myself up to date with the music of the young Brian and Michael D'Addario, otherwise known as The Lemon Twigs.

Cover art for Sparks' latest album Hippopotamus.

Cover art for Sparks' latest album Hippopotamus. Photo: BMG

Their 2016 debut, titled Do Hollywood, revealed some most agreeably venturesome songwriting. Working from the security of a solid pop base, their music navigates a slippery highway, in which startling chord shifts and devious vocal lines create intoxicatingly willowy bends worthy of Burt Bacharach himself.

I've snuck in a song from the boys' father Ronnie D'Addario too, who has a career, perhaps a minor one, in music himself.

A brotherly partnership of much longer standing is Sparks – Ron and Russell Mael. These men have been going since 1972 and are now hitting their seventies.

Their new album Hippopotamus marks a return to a more straightforward song format after years of lengthier narrative-driven projects including a very strange Swedish radio opera, The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman.

The group's vocalist Russell Mael has described the fraternal relationship as a central force in their music. It's ensured there's always passion, vision and focus in what they do: "We just kind of put the blinders on and steamroll ahead."

[And check out the strange similarity of stance and apparel of Michael D'Addario and Ron Mael in the CD cover images! Spooky.]

1. 'Disembodied Voices' – The Finn Brothers

2. 'How Lucky Am I' – The Lemon Twigs

3. 'I’d Like a Telephone’ – Ronnie D’Addario

4. 'Those Days is Comin’ Soon' – The Lemon Twigs

5. 'White Flag' (Dido et al) – The Lemon Twigs

6. 'Something for the girl with everything' – Sparks

7. 'Probably Nothing' – Sparks

8. 'Life with the Macbeths' – Sparks

9. 'Scandinavian Design' – Sparks

Music Details

'Song title' (Composer) – Performers
Album title
(Label)

'Disembodied Voices' (N Finn/T Finn) – The Finn Brothers
Everyone is Here
(Parlophone)

'How Lucky Am I' (The Lemon Twigs) – The Lemon Twigs
Do Hollywood
(4AD)

'I’d Like a Telephone' (Ronnie D’Addario) –  Ronnie D’Addario
Try Out a Song
(Homburg)

'Those Days is Comin’ Soon' (The Lemon Twigs) – The Lemon Twigs
Do Hollywood
(4AD)

'White Flag' (Dido et al) – The Lemon Twigs
Cover Your Ass Vol 1
(4AD)

'Something for the girl with everything' (Ron Mael) – Sparks
New Music for Amnesiacs
(Lil Beethoven)

'Something for the girl with everything' (Ron Mael) – Sparks
Plagiarism
(Virgin)

'Probably Nothing' (Mael/Mael) – Sparks
Hippopotamus
(BMG)

'Life with the Macbeths' (Mael/Mael) – Sparks
Hippopotamus
(BMG)

'Scandinavian Design' (Mael/Mael) – Sparks
Hippopotamus
(BMG)

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