The Strokes dabble with sounds from throughout their career on a satisfying return
A calculated (and doomed) attempt to shock.
So it'd be nice to think that 'Balls', their new album, might drip with a similar acerbic malevolence. But no. Sadly, as 'Balls' proves, age has inexplicably withered Sparks' bow-legged muse; where once was genre-bending acid eclecticism and inspired wit, Sparks now seem content to dole out tired, tinny electro-pop and unfunny puns.
(you can almost hear the self-consciously wry grins). A calculated (and doomed) attempt to shock, where once they'd cause hilarious offence with ease.
Evidence of how far Sparks have fallen can be found in some tracks' resemblance to the smug comedy techno-pap of 10cc alumni Godley & Creme. Only the nagging, Numan-esque flight-mare of 'Aeroflot' and the teasingly louche 'How To Get Your Ass Kicked' scrape Sparks' previous heights. The rest is autopilot nonsense, the sound of a once sharp blade dulled to the point of inconsequence.
Once the thrill of the cast and visuals wears off, this follow-up to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland is a drag
George Clooney and Julia Roberts bounce off each other like pros in this amusing take on fat cat greed
The hooks are plentiful and the energy’s palpable, but the Bottlemen still don’t have a ‘Wonderwall’
The Pulp frontman and foremost writer of dirty ditties has surprise-released four tracks to accompany a new TV show