Picks and Pans Review: Bananarama

updated 05/28/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/28/1984 01:00AM

Bananarama

Imagine the Go-Go's with a wet—or at least damp—blanket thrown over them. That image offers a rough idea of what this all-woman British trio is like. Sarah Dallin and Siobhan Fahey were both journalism students in London when they formed the group in 1979 with Keren Woodward, then at a boring job with the BBC. Their sound harks back to a lot of the old American "girl groups"; the resemblance to the Supremes seems more than coincidental at times. They have sung backup for Fun Boy Three and have had singles as high as number three on the English charts. This is their second album to be released here. They don't have anything like the exuberance of the Go-Go's. One track on this LP, Rough Justice, is one of those pro forma rock songs that goes on about children starving in the streets. (Performers seem to feel they have to establish their seriousness as human beings by including such message-laden songs even when they're totally out of context, not to mention reeking of superficiality.) The three women wrote the 10 tunes with co-producers Tony Swain and Steve Jolley (who have worked with Spandau Ballet). Their best tracks approach an unself-conscious kind of playfulness, such as these lyrics from Dream Baby: "I know that you like to fool around/You know I'm the hottest thing in town." What makes this a worthwhile package, though, is the splendid, energizing Robert De Niro's Waiting, an ideal dance rocker centering on an otherwise frustrated woman's fantasy about the movie actor. (Don't get too carried away, Bob; Dallin says the tune was going to be entitled Al Pacino's Waiting until the Bananaramas decided that "De Niro" sounded better.) To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson—to paraphrase him to beat the band, in fact—rock 'n' roll is its own excuse for being, and this tune is an unapologetic, unabashed good time. (Polygram)

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