Bananarama – “In Stereo”
Bananarama are back with their eleventh studio album and their first since “Viva” in 2009. Still recording as a duo since their overwhelmingly successful world tour of 2017-18 with Siobhan back in the fold, Sara and Keren return to their pop/disco roots with ten brand new tracks to dazzle and delight us all with in their thirty eighth year of recording together.
With the release of “Dance Music” and “Stuff Like That“, we’ve already been given a taste of Bananarama2019, but what about the rest of “In Stereo”? Turn the volume up and join me with the world’s most enduringly successful all girl group and their latest long play offering to find out…
1. Love In Stereo
We kick off with a pure 70’s disco enthused number that sparkles and shines from the word go. The song was originally written and recorded by Mutya Keisha Siobhan, the original members of the Sugababes, but was later given to Bananarama by the band. Sara and Keren’s vocals shimmer and are pronounced throughout. This could be a contender for single release…
2. Dance Music
Our first introduction to “In Stereo” came in January with the release of the track “Dance Music” co-written and produced with Ian Masterson, who was also involved in the “Viva” album. “Dance Music” is an effortlessly cool, erm, dance number with that brilliantly simple chorus line of “la la la la feel the music, la la la la dance music” (oh how we love “la la la” in a song!). The girls sing “Music makes me wanna dance” and so will you to this hip club anthem time and time again.
3. I’m On Fire
Eight of the tracks on “In Stereo” are written and produced with Ian Masterson and this one of them and on first hearing this sounds soooo much like “Love Comes” from “Viva“. Again, strong vocals and an explosive chorus that were key to the success of “Love Comes” are evident here too. There’s one part of the song where they sing “Coz it feels like, when loves bites, and I’m burning up with desire”, you just want them to burst into “And then love comes, with a heart beat”!
I love the opening to this track, it’s so gorgeous and very un-Bananarama. It’s cool, hypnotic and refreshing and very Summery and again could be a potential single release with a beach-themed video. Another different Bananarama sound and very ‘in-date’.
More early 80’s synth-pop/electro-wave sounds now with “Tonight” and then it’s 90’s dance with the plinky-plonky piano chorus. This is a much slower number than those that preceded it with much more defined sensual and sexy vocals from Sara and Keren, but nevertheless a must hear.
6. Looking For Someone
Euphoria and dance return as “Looking For Someone” builds and builds and will have you up on your feet dancing, dancing, dancing. Fast vocals and fast production keep this track from hanging around too long and you can’t help feeling you want ‘more, more, more’!
7. Stuff Like That
Disco fever galore with the first official release from the album, together with a video too! “Stuff Like That” is classic Bananarama of the 1980’s with a splash of 21st century production that will simply make you scream and shout “yeah”! The girls look simply fabulous in the video, clearly enjoying being old school diva’s who have seen girls bands come and go and here they still are. So, “Let’s have a party, let’s raise the roof”!
8. It’s Gonna Be Alright
More down-tempo, cool vibes now with “It’s Gonna Be Alright” with more 80’s electro vibes providing the backbone to this number. Sara and Keren sound superb throughout this track and plenty of echo to accentuate their voices.
9. Got To Get Away
More Bananarama diversification now with this almost country-feeling number with plenty of guitars and enough toe tapping to make your leg fall off! The girls sing “I wanna walk on the wild side and never look back”, well I think they’ve done that! This is one that will need a few listens to love and appreciate fully.
10. On Your Own
We end on a near-ballad of a song and very reminiscent of “Once In A Lifetime” from the “Wow” album, so if (like me) you’re a massive fan of that track then you will love “On Your Own”. Again, guitars lift this track with a very country feel. A perfect end to a brilliant album with very soft and tender vocals from both ‘girls’. It breezes in the warm Summer sun and ends far too soon. Uh.
Can it really be 37 years since their debut LP “Deep Sea Skiving”? Written off immediately as a joke by critics and the music industry itself, Bananarama have had the last laugh, their longevity and enduring success speaks for itself, here at the end of their fourth decade as recording artists. We love a large slice of The Nana’s here at talkaboutpopmusic.com and “In Stereo” is definitely one to add to the collection and hopefully not the last!
You can order “In Stereo” from the Bananarama shop by clicking here
NB: “In Stereo” entered the UK album chart upon release at No.29, the highest charting Bananarama studio album for more than 27 years! “Pop Life” had stopped at No.42 in 1991, while “Wow” had peaked at No.26 in 1987. Bananarama were back! The success of “In Stereo” speaks for itself. A modern, contemporary pop-dance album, but very definitely Bananarama. No one else could of made an album of this standard. And we’re grateful no one else has! Viva!