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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Apr 2019 - Bananarama! > Once you pOp, you can’t StOp

Once you pOp, you can’t StOp

NORMAL SERVICE HAS BEEN RESUMED. A F TER THEI R ONE-TIME ONLY REUNION TOUR WI TH SIOBHAN FAHEY, BANANARAMA ARE BACK WI TH THEI R F I RST S TUD IO ALBUM IN 10 YEARS. SAR A DAL L IN AND KEREN WOODWARD TALK ABOUT POP ’S U PL I F T ING POWER, PAT T I SMI TH AND RA- RA SKI RT -WEARING TRAUMA.
Back to the core duo – Bananarama’s Keren Woodward (left) and Sara Dallin (right)
© Penelope Campbell and Will Marsh

Bananarama are jet-lagged but exultant. Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin have just returned from a storming show in San Diego and are about to endure a long-haul marathon flight to Australia for a string of gigs Down Under. In the meantime, there’s also the small matter of a video shoot to crowbar in.

If they thought their return as a duo would be dialled down a little from the headline-grabbing exploits of their recent reunion with Siobhan Fahey, then they’ll have to think again.

With their first studio album in a decade about to make its way blinking into the pop sunlight, we meet in the chic environs of a French brasserie in Soho’s Old Compton Street, just a stone’s throw away from the G.A.Y. club where they played an historic one-off reunion show with Siobhan back in 2002. Amid the clinking glasses and cappuccino slurps of the West End’s assembled brunchers, the pair are friendly but businesslike; a no-nonsense approach that’s seen them through almost 40 years on pop’s frontline.

A Stateside favour

Could In Stereo have ended up with a country and western influence akin to Kylie’s Golden? An off-hand remark by Sara a while back hinted that Bananarama were heading to Nashville to pen the new album. Sara laughs when she recalls the on-camera moment when the duo appeared on a celebrity version of TV show Pointless: “We said that a long time ago. We’d been watching [US drama] Nashville and I loved the process of how they write – it’s so melodic with lots of harmonies – I thought that would suit us but we didn’t have a record deal so it’s difficult making that idea work…

“We once did a writing session with a guy who worked with Prince [David Z]. He was used to recording with artists like Apollonia 6 and those sort of girl bands, but it just didn’t suit us. We couldn’t sing anything he came up with. I don’t have that sort of soulful voice. It was a diabolical embarrassment.”

Keren was equally aghast at their process: “They wanted to record us virtually one syllable at a time to get this absolutely perfect vocal! So you just end up with no life in the finished take. We just lost the will to live. We like to just go in, sing it, maybe sing it again and then go, ‘That’ll be alright!’”

© Penelope Campbell and Will Marsh
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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!