Friday, October 28, 2011

Album Review: The Bangles - Sweetheart Of The Sun

The Bangles are making a return to the music scene. Their last album Doll Revolution was released in 2003. It has been a long eight years, but once you listen to Sweetheart Of The Sun you’ll know the girls are back and true to their form, albeit less popalicious than they were in the 80s.

What the girls bring to the table is that fantastic girl group 60s sound. This album has a heavy psychedelic sound, very reminiscent of their third album Everything only with songs that are more mature. The vocals are still shared between the three ladies, Michael Steel left the band in 2005, leaving Susannah Hoffs and Vicki and Debbi Peterson to soldier on.
This album is like a trip back to the “Summer of Love,” especially on songs like “Mesmerized.” The guitars are jangling and trippy. The girls harmonize perfectly, which contributes to that old school girl group feel. The album’s opener “Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)” sounds like it should have been a hit in the mid 60s.
The 60s vibe is there through all the tracks on Sweetheart of the Sun. That might be the one thing that keeps the album from being fantastic. Sure these are some great retro pop songs, but when you think of The Bangles, you think of fun pop music like “Walk Like An Egyptian” or stellar love songs like “Manic Monday” and “Eternal Flame.” There’s nothing of that caliber on Sweetheart, but there are a few songs that make a valiant effort. “Open My Eyes,” is a super fun rocker, which will remind some fans of “In My Room,” from Everything. It was penned by rocker Todd Rundgren. It has the same psychedelic harmonies and trippy guitar.

“Through Your Eyes,” is a George Harrison-esque ballad. It’s Susannah’s shining moment. She’s always done superb ballads, and this one is no different. Debbi handles vocals on “Circles In The Sky.” Her vocals are deep and mellow.

This album marks the band’s 30th anniversary and it is clear that they still have it. Though the kitschy pop songs that scored them many hits in the 80s is definitely not present on Sweetheart Of The Sun, the finely polished pop gems found here will definitely please old and new fans.

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