Deaf School

As Sparks was a slick balm to the rumbling rock and precious garage of America in the early 70s, Deaf School was a loopy counterweight to the sing-along proto-punk pub and blue-eyed glam of England at the same time. Both harmonious and at odds with the zeitgeist; like two positive magnets held firmly together, their powerful polarity indicating their sameness.

They formed in art school in the early 70s and released a few albums, both of which were studio-tight efforts prancing through effervescent cabaret, lounge-lizard balladry, bluesy sing-alongs. All done with a satirical, acerbic bent, their music is a joy to listen to, superficially sparkly, darkly stirring beneath the dappled waves. The first track off the first album is "What a Way to End It All," a ukulele swinger that skips straight into a mushroom cloud; what else would you expect?

After they split, the members sunk deeper into the business, becoming producers, working with the likes of  Morrissey, David Bowie, Dexys Midnight Runners, Bush, forming other bands, getting enmeshed within the A&R game. Listen to these LPs closely and you'll see how their affect rippled out into the broader world. I hear X, Franz Ferdinand, Pulp, Blur, Magazine, XTC.