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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Apr 2019 - Bananarama! > BANANARAMA IN STEREO





No one expected Bananarama to reinvent themselves. Most likely, no one wanted them to either. One thing’s for sure, though: Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward aren’t going to mess with the formula. Instead, they’re going to distil it to its purest form.

Hiring producer Richard X for opening track Love In Stereo is, therefore, a smart way to get people onside, its throbbing, Heart Of Glass synths underpinning an affectionate look at the way music revives powerful associations: “With you the music sounds better/ I can’t listen alone.” Better still, it cannily acknowledges their audience’s maturity, offering a sense of nostalgia with both its opening greeting – “Been a long time” – and its early reference to “a tape in the dashboard.”

What the title track does best, however, is fail to outstay its welcome. This is one of the greatest skills of all, and it’s one at which Bananarama often excel here.

As kickstarts go, then, Love In Stereo is pretty much immaculate, and that it’s followed by the summer disco fever of Dance Music – which borrows a trick or two from Kylie’s deathless Can’t Get You Out My Head – is another canny move.

The Venus-like Intoxicated delves into similar territory as well, the duo’s familiar unison voices breaking into harmonies before its chorus, and if that’s surprisingly restrained, it’s soon offset by Stuff Like That’s festive fireworks. There’s even a gentle comedown in the Morcheebalike On Your Own.

Inevitably, though, some tracks are weaker: It’s Gonna Be Alright’s merely a pale shadow of Stuff Like That, Tonight’s chorus sounds like it’s deflating, and only the tense crescendo towards I’m On Fire’s climax redeems its formulaic overexcitement and trite sentiments.

In places, the duo also come across as surprisingly needy: Tonight’s “I need to feel you”, Gotta Get Away’s rather worrying “I wanna feel love so bad/ Like a heart attack”, Looking For Someone’s demanding “I don’t expect nothing but love” and It’s Going To Be Alright’s “I wanted a cowboy by my side/ I wanted a rodeo,” which is surely doomed to disappointment.

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About Classic Pop

Issue 51 of Classic Pop is on sale now! This month, we have an exclusive interview with Bananarama's Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward as they return with their first new studio album in a decade. We also meet iconic duo Hall & Oates before their UK arena tour and talk to Gary Numan as part of our look into the superfan phenomenon. Classic Pop pays tribute to the wonderful Mark Hollis from Talk Talk and we celebrate the band's iconic Spirit Of Eden in our latest Classic Album feature. Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford take us inside their spiky songwriting partnership and we also hear from Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder about his life as a one-of-a-kind wordsmith. Our packed new album reviews section includes Bananarama, Edwyn Collins, Toyah, Andy Bell and The Chemical Brothers. On the reissues front, we revisit New Order's debut album Movement plus re-releases from Prince, Kate Bush, R.E.M, David Bowie and more. In our live reviews section, we elbow our way down to the front for Tears For Fears, The Revolution, Holy Holy and Bryan Adams. Enjoy the issue!