BMG. CD/DL/LP An emphatic show of Ron and Russell Mael’s late-period genius.
“We have to outdo ourselves this time,” says Russell Mael in the cartoon strip ‘biog’ sent out with Hippopotamus. That’s exactly what he and big brother Ron have done here – and not least on the articulate daftness front. Underpinned and beautifully offset by Ron’s offbeat pop-classical arrangements, the lyrical conceits and come hither titles of songs such as What The Hell Is It This Time? and I Wish You Were Fun (in the latter, the found-wanting partner’s fave colour is brown) don’t disappoint. With the preposterous title track raising the bar for rhyme-scheme daring verse by verse, Missionary Position hymning the sexually unadventurous, and Probably Nothing squeezing poignancy from the act of forgetting something trivial, Hippopotamus is never anything less than wildly entertaining. Two hundred years from now, the dictionary entry for brilliantly eccentric pop will remain the same: Sparks.