Sparks @ HMV Picture House, 21 October
For their 2 Hands 1 Mouth tour, Sparks have kept their overheads low: the voice of Russell, the key-playing hands of Ron, and nothing else. It’s bold, but Sparks have never been anything but; lest we forget, their last UK tour involved 21 dates in London, playing every note of their discography in chronological order. That’s a lot of falsetto.
Ron begins alone, playing potted instrumentals as if to demonstrate that, yes, they do sound pretty damn good stripped of all adornments. Russell soon joins him and the classics start to flow, from breakthrough This Town Aint Big Enough to the divinely daft Dick Around, and plenty else from across their remarkable oeuvre.
Not everything works (Beat the Clock is amongst those rendered repetitive), but when it does – the music hall knees-up of Suburban Homeboy; the puffed-chest of Hospitality on Parade – it more than fulfils their specially-written closing song’s promise: “Two hands, one mouth / are all I need to satisfy you.”