Bananarama – ‘In Stereo’ Album Review

2.5/ 5 – Whilst it won’t make it to my summer playlist, I have a feeling a lot of Bananarama fans will be putting it on theirs.

After spending last summer in the garden playing ‘cruel summer’ over and over again, it’s safe to say I became quite into Bananarama. Superficially, I’ll admit, it was because I’d discovered their impeccable 80’s style after seeing them on a Top of the Pops rerun episode, who doesn’t love high waist Levis and oversized hair ties?

Fast forward a year later and the 80’s pop royalty are back with a brand spanking new album: In Stereo, their first album released in 10 years.

The trio is down to two as Siobhan Fahey has hung up her mic for the second time, following on from their 2017-2018 hugely successful world tour. Fans will be pleased to hear that Sara Dallin and Karin Woodward have returned with an album that remains well rooted within their genre of expertise: pop.

Bananarama ruled the charts in the 80’s selling over 40 million records worldwide. They even snagged a place in the Guinness world book of records for being the first all-female group with the most chart entries in the world. If that’s not celebration for female empowerment and a foreshadowing of Girl Power, then I don’t know what is. Bananarama were trendsetters, rule makers, and paved the way for many future girl bands to come.

Their new album ‘In Stereo’ is pop down to its very core and not for the faint hearted. The album kicks off with ‘Love in Stereo’.. lively and energetic, with elements of 70’s disco. This track was originally recorded by the Sugababes and produced by Richard X, known best for his uniquely styled synthesised pop. ‘Love in stereo’ is perfect for their old school fans who love nothing more than a bit of fun.

Next up is ‘Dance Music’ which sounds like it has borrowed elements from several pop classics. The lyrics and melody of ‘la la la feel the music’ has a Kylie Minogue, ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ feel, whilst the deep auto-tuned vocal is reminiscent SClub7’s mega tune ‘Don’t stop moving’.

‘Intoxicated’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Stuff like that’ follow on with the same fun, electro-pop sound, whilst ‘I’m On Fire’ has a Eurovision feel to it – however the track itself feels a bit mismatched with the chorus and verses sounding like almost entirely different songs. 

The album as a whole is a decent attempt by the girls to create something new and fresh, not just imitations of their old classics.

Whilst it won’t make it to my summer playlist, I have a feeling a lot of Bananarama fans will be putting it on theirs.

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