Bananarama's third album can't quite match the quality of their previous, self-titled release from two years previously, but that's not to say it's not a fine listen overall.
Again, there's those soulless voices singing in unison too often, yet not always, with moments of vocal harmony, as well as creative touches here and there that help some of the songs rise well above mediocre.
was also the album where producers Stock/Aitken/Waterman started getting their claws into the group. The usual team of Swain and Jolley did most of the work here, but it was with the feisty cover of Shocking Blue's "Venus", which remains one of the trio's biggest hits, and "More Than Physical", that SAW gave them a more hi-energy dance sound. "Venus" is fine, while "More Than Physical" is actually quite mild (depending on which version of the album you have), and also forgettable - it was given more zing for the single.
It's elsewhere that the album really shines however, starting with the opening, percussion-led title song, and even more so with the glorious "A Trick of the Night", an almost dreamy pop confection of lovely melodies and counter-melodies which has never been bettered by the group. "In a Perfect World", on the other hand, has a mystery and complexity about it that is unexpected.
A problem with the album overall is that it runs for almost 49 minutes, which was long by 80s pop standards, and is really a bit too lengthy - latter tracks like "Promised Land" and "More Than Physical" are just filler, and could have been discarded. But we wouldn't want to jettison the final track, the anti-drug "Hooked on Love", which finishes the collection on a dark but satisfying note.
After True Confessions
, SAW took over completely, resulting in the air-headed (though still admittedly catchy) pop of Wow!
, but Bananarama's best period was really this album, along with 1984's Bananarama
. Both albums demonstrate that the group were much more than just a simplistic Top 40 pop act from what is an unfairly maligned decade. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor