Sparks is the third full-length studio album by UK-based rock band Fiction Plane. It was released in continental Europe (excluding the UK) on 10 May 2010 via Roadrunner Records. Currently, two versions of the album exist: a standard 11-song version, and a deluxe digipack edition featuring 14 songs. According to the liner notes, a fifteenth song was recorded, "Push Me Around (acoustic)", but it has not yet surfaced. The album artwork was once again provided by Alex Lake, who previously contributed the art for Bitter Forces and Lame Race Horses, Left Side of the Brain, and Paradiso.
Sparks was recorded at RAK Studios in London (in February/March 2009) and at Moles Studios in Bath, England (in September 2009). It was mixed and engineered by Paul Corkett. The bonus track "Sadr City Blues (acoustic)" was recorded at Airtime Studios in Bloomington, Indiana. The album's first single, "Push Me Around", was released in Europe on 4 April 2010. A video for the track was also filmed, but has not yet premiered.
Sparks was only available in stores in continental Europe and at European online retailers.
On 27 February 2009, Fiction Plane previewed five brand new songs at a concert at Arlene's Grocery in New York City. The song titles were "Telephone Unknown", "Humanoid", "Denied", "Zero", and "Contagious". “Humanoid", "Denied" and “Zero” are currently featured in the track listing for Sparks, while "Telephone Unknown" is featured as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of the album. "Contagious" also appears on Sparks, but it was renamed "Russian LSD".
On 13 August 2009, Fiction Plane premiered three new songs at the Mercury Lounge in New York: "Talking", "Out of My Face", and "Kill Me Now". The first two eventually appeared on Sparks, while "Kill Me Now" remains unreleased. All three songs were written during the band's stay in New York during the week of the performance.
The lead track on Sparks "You Know You're Good (La La La Song)" is a reworking of the song "Cut Your Brakes". The band originally wrote the song during the The Police 30th Anniversary Tour (2007) and it evolved over time to its current incarnation. The only released recording of "Cut Your Breaks" appeared on Fiction Plane's live album Paradiso. "Russian LSD" is based on the 1966 Russian novel The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. The novel tells the story about what happens when the Devil pays a visit to a Soviet Union that is largely composed of atheists. "Humanoid" was inspired by the short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", by James Thurber. "Sadr City Blues (acoustic)" was recorded in August 2008 and was originally intended to be included on an acoustic EP the band had hoped to release that Christmas. However, due to legal issues and problems with the previous record label, the EP was never released.