The brothers Mael—Ron (he of the dazzling orchestral maneuvers) and Russell (he of the stylish operatic vocals)—who record as Sparks, have been creating musical magic for three decades.

The brothers Mael—Ron (he of the dazzling orchestral maneuvers) and Russell (he of the stylish operatic vocals)—who record as Sparks, have been creating musical magic for three decades. On this, their 19th album, the Los Angeles natives (and progenitors of today's electronic scene) reunite with Palm Records founder Chris Blackwell, who, many will surely recall, signed the duo to Island Records in the early '70s. Throughout its career, Sparks has created some of the most clever and theatrical pop music; this tradition continues here. In fact, "Lil' Beethoven" is the best soundtrack to a film that does not exist. Songs like "The Rhythm Thief," "What Are All These Bands So Angry About?," "Your Call's Very Important to Us. Please Hold" and "Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls" conjure up such strong visual images that a Hollywood production à la "Chicago" seems inevitable.—MP