Missing Persons - Dreaming
by Kevin Wierzbicki
Missing Persons were one of the most unique American New Wave bands, with quirky vocalist Dale Bozzio being backed by a stellar band that included Frank Zappa alums Terry Bozzio on drums, Warren Cuccurullo on guitar and Patrick O'Hearn on bass. The band's '80s heyday produced memorable hits like "Walking in L.A.," "Words" and "Destination Unknown," and while those days and the Zappa lineup are long gone, Dale continues to front an iteration of Missing Persons that can still bring the thrills and chills. Dreaming opens appropriately enough with one of the set's many covers, a stunning take on the Mamas and Papas chestnut "California Dreamin'" where, filtered through a slow and Gary Numan-esque dirge-scape, the song's dark heart really comes to the forefront. Original cut "Lipstick" is classic Missing Persons; the tale of a serial killing roaming the haunts of Hollywood also proves that the band can channel their signature sound without trying to replicate Terry's polyrhythms. The breezy synth-pop of "Dreaming" and the psych-tinged "This Time" are the album's other two originals; among the best of the other covers are an interpretation of the Animals hit "We Gotta Get out of This Place" where British Invasion grit is replaced with New Wave gloom, and a bright, synth-rocking take on the Strawberry Alarm Clock oldie "Incense and Peppermints." Also covered are the Rolling Stones hit "Play with Fire," here titled "Playing with Fire," and a cool version of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" that plays out to an industrial Nine Inch Nails-style groove. Far from a typical covers album, Dreaming is an impressive burst of creativity from Bozzio, and hopefully she'll be able to tour the record soon because many of these songs will be even more mind-blowing when heard live.