January 18, 2014 3 Comments
In the long and sometimes arduous quest to replace my long-gone cassette collection (only a few remain) with CDs, I finally replaced my copy of All Over the Place by the Bangles. They really hit the big time with Different Light, containing hits like Manic Monday, Walk Like an Egyptian & If She Knew What She Wants, but I reckon that their first album was their best.
Anyhow, it had been a long time since I’d sat down and had a listen, so once my copy arrived I did just that. And then I played it two more times!
All Over the Place, like many debut albums, just shines. While Susanna Hoffs is widely thought of as the lead singer (and as readers of my blog know from my Classic Singers series, she is one of my favourites), all of the girls’ talents are showcased here, both vocally and musically. Vicki and Debbie Petersen crank out the tunes and do their turn on lead vocals, while Michael Steele also performs strongly although she doesn’t sing lead on this album as far as I could tell.
For me, the stand out tracks are Going Down to Liverpool (a cover of a Katrina & the Waves song that in my opinion the Bangles made their own), which was the first of their songs I came across, and Dover Beach, which is still one of my favourite Bangles songs. But there is also Tell Me, which is a delightfully upbeat song with rock-a-billy influences and a cracking good bass from Michael Steele. It’s short and sweet with loads of energy. I’d love to see it played live. The 60s inspired Restless follows – the guitar intro is a little bit 70s, but then the 60s feel kicks in (a bit of Beatles or British invasion influences perhaps?).
The album kicks off with Hero Takes a Fall; this was the first single. It combines some signature jangly guitars, great harmonies, and solid rhythm. Live comes next, a cover of the Merry-Go-Round’s song from 1967. It’s a slower easy-going composition that, for me, encapsulates the 60s vibe. It’s a real foot-tapping number. James cranks up the pace with some great guitar work. I have a soft spot for this song, it’s catchy rhythm and sunny demeanour always makes me smile. He’s Got a Secret has a great melody, a talent of the Bangles that infuses the whole album along with the seemingly effortless harmonies. I can’t fault the musicianship – the band works as tight unit. Silent Treatment has more of a late 70s feel, almost a bit of punk (in a tender sort of way).
All About You has a meandering intro that promises something laidback before a frantic drumbeat takes hold of your feet. The album winds down with More than Meets the Eye to ease the listener out with some good strings and vocals and a reflective mood to the song.
I like this album more each time I listen to it, especially the conspicuous lack of unnecessary production – often a problem in the 80s and since then. There is space in the music that allows the band members to show their talents and provide some honesty to the songs.
You can listen to the All Over the Place here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9y5d4gNhnk&list=PL5EA43C5AD0852574