Audio 8 Records
our score: 3 out of 5
Here are a few of my first thoughts when I received "Sail Away" by Doctor Sparkles:
- "What the hell is this?" - When I saw the cover of a guy with a campy grin, dressed in a solid red suit with fur lining, a red Dr. Seuss type of hat and holding a ukulele.
- "Oh no" - When I saw that his name was Doctor Sparkles.
- "This just keeps getting worse."
- When two business cards fell into my lap that said that Doctor Sparkles was available for private and public engagements.
- "Great. Now I'm going to look like a twelve-year-old girl." When about a dozen little sparkly stars came tumbling after.
- "Maybe this will be better than it looks."
When finding out that he had been nominated for an award for a gospel song he had written as Kevin Patrick Baiko (his real name).
All this ran through my mind even before I listened to the first note of his debut album "Sail Away." The thought that still sticks with me is the last one. Baiko's alter ego Dr. Sparkles is over the top to say the least, but the music on his debut album is quite eclectic and definitely different than anything else I've ever heard. It's like a trip down to the Caribbean with little messages here and there.
The opening of his debut album and title track is like taking Dracula and having him sing a song that would be perfect for the next SpongeBob SquarePants movie. It's soft, soothing and dementedly happy. The rest of the album is just as interesting.
The back of the album has a little description of what Doctor Sparkles is all about. Each song is supposed to be a fantasy. Some have "pearls of wisdom" while "others are scattered ideas whose only point is to point out how very silly it is to think it important to make points." Baiko does both surprisingly effectively.
Tracks like "Francisco El Gato," "Rastaman Santa" and "Tango Para Palomitas De Maiz (Pop De Popcorn)" prove his silliness, while "Come to Me," "Butterfly" and "See Me Home" each have little pearls of wisdom, nothing that hasn't already been covered however. "There's a Special Place" combines the two. Baiko laments about how there's a "special place in hell" for everybody with "no one left out." It's strange to hear a Tiny Tim-esque song about how everybody will eventually go to hell.
Doctor Sparkles is certainly better than the campy cover would have you believe. Although it doesn't take long for the Caribbean-sounding ukulele to get old, Baiko does his best to keep it interesting through the marathon 23 tracks. "Sail Away" probably won't become a staple in too many CD players, but it's one of those albums that is nice to put in for a change of pace. It's a novelty that is fun to go back to.