Album Reviews

The Bangles

Ladies and Gentlemen...the Bangles!

Artist:     The Bangles

Album:     Ladies and Gentlemen … The Bangles!

Label:     Omnivore

Release Date:     06/24/2016

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There’s no need for introductions, although these Bangles don’t come off quite so sweet and innocent. Punks at heart, who clearly adored ‘60s pop and harbored a crush on garage-rock bad boys like Them, the original lineup of Susanna Hoffs, Debbi and Vicki Peterson, and their first bass player Annette Zilinskas had a wild streak.

They were known as the Bangs when they recorded a whip-smart surf instrumental “Bitchen Summer/Speedway” immersed in kaleidoscopic psychedelia and a pair of rousing British Invasion-style aces in “Getting Out of Hand” and “Call on Me” that made up their first single – both clad in sharp hooks, winning harmonies and gleaming riffs. All are found on the bright, engaging 16-track rarities compilation Ladies and Gentlemen … The Bangles!, its lost-and-found contents remastered with loving care.

Combustible live material and lively unreleased demos, including a rambunctious cover of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Steppin’ Out,” recommend this surprisingly rowdy set, which resurrects a self-titled EP unavailable since 1982, when it was released on vinyl. That artifact, produced by Ramones/Blondie producer Craig Leon, harnesses the infectious excitement of the Beatles’ salad days in “I’m in Line,” as The Bangles also buff “The Real World” to a nice jangle-pop shine and kick out the jams with the rockabilly fervor of “Want You” and the maximum R&B potency of “How is the Air Up There?”

Even more savage and raw in concert, the Bangles attack Love’s “7 & 7 Is” with verve and violence, the whole lot here making a euphoric riot of Ladies and Gentlemen … The Bangles!

– Peter Lindblad

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