Ron and Russell Mael got their musical start in the band Halfnelson, along with another pair of brothers, Earle and Jim Mackey. Halfnelson’s debut was produced by Todd Rundgren, but it failed to garner much attention. The group’s label decided that the band needed to change their name, because Halfnelson was too “sportscentric,” and thus Sparks was born. The Mackeys and the Maels parted ways, so today Sparks consists of just Russell, who provides vocals; and Ron, who writes the songs, plays keyboards and looks generally frightening.
“Perfume” comes off of the brothers’ 2006 album Hello Young Lovers, and they’ve released two more since then. Their musical style has changed pretty drastically over the 40+ years they’ve been together, and their prolific output since then can seem a little intimidating to the new listener. To get a good sense of their different styles, check out 1974′s Kimono My House, 1982′s Angst in My Pants, and 1994′s Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins.