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The Bangles - Sweetheart of the Sun

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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It's been more than twenty-five years since Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson and Debbi Peterson released All Over the Place, their first album as the Bangles. The ladies all have husbands and kids now but they can still remember their days as hot babes trying to break out of L.A.'s paisley underground scene which they eventually did with a string of hits including "Hero Takes a Fall," the Prince-penned "Manic Monday" and the radio and MTV smash "Walk Like an Egyptian." To say that Sweetheart of the Sun contains nothing of that caliber would be incorrect but times and tastes have changed to the disadvantage of groups like the Bangles; this is not a nostalgic album but many of the fans who once enjoyed goofily walking like an Egyptian are now too busy renewing their AARP dues to check out new music. So in a sense Sweetheart of the Sun is more a new beginning for the Bangles than it is a comeback and therefore shouldn't be measured against the successes of the past. Opening number "Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)" is perhaps the album's best group effort where all three girls harmonize beautifully to a pop arrangement informed by '60s radio. Hoffs seems to have the best voice for the psychedelic numbers and she takes lead vocals on the patchouli and paisley psych-lite number "Under a Cloud." "I'll Never Be Through With You" could easily be mistaken for a Sheryl Crow song were it not for Hoff's sweet cooing while many of the songs with Debbi on lead vocals, particularly "Circles in the Sky," recall the sublime moments in Heart's catalog where Nancy Wilson is featured. "Through Your Eyes" is another example of the trio's expertise in group harmony; the song is slow and dreamy, contrary to closing number "Open My Eyes," a harmony-filled psych-rocker that channels the spirit of the Who circa "Can't Explain." If it were twenty-five years ago and comparisons were to be made "Open My Eyes" would be the biggest of several potential hits on Sweethearts of the Sun.

The Bangles - Sweetheart of the Sun
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