Picks and Pans Review: Everything
The Bangles are still a band that seems to be aiming mainly at a 14-year-old mentality. This is good fortune for 14-year-olds. The Bangles write and perform with lots of bounce, novelty and blushy romantic notions, and they don't condescend to the kids. In Your Room may carry things a bit far: "I'll do anything you want me to in your room" (it doesn't sound as if they're talking about being willing to trade an Orel Hershiser for three Ron Darlings here, Mom and Dad). But such tracks as Something to Believe In or Make a Play for Her Now are perfectly respectable teen pop tunes. But should the Bangles—not to mention their more mature admirers—be content with that kind of thing? The youngest member of the group—Debbi Peterson—is 25, not exactly decrepit yet still of an age when most people want to be taken seriously. One track on this, their fourth album, Debbi and Vicki Peterson's Bell Jar, shows (1) that at least two members of the group have heard of Sylvia Plath, and (2) they're able to write and sing about something weighty, in this case loneliness and introspection. Then there are the times when Susanna Hoffs takes the lead vocal turn, such as Waiting for You (a pleasant but fluffy neo-Beatlette ditty) or the silly Eternal Flame (an expression usually reserved for grave sites, not, as it is here, used to suggest undying passion). Hoffs's voice has a warmth and depth that cries out for more substantial songs. The group has a new producer, Davitt Sigerson, who has recently applied himself to such admirable projects as Olivia Newton-John's The Rumour. He seems to have lent the Bangles some touches of previously undiscovered sophistication, though for the time being they still ought to be banned for those over 18. (Columbia)
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