Record Review - 3 October 16 2003

Sunny harmonies, ringing guitars and chirpy vocals anchor Doll Revolution, the Bangles’ first new album since 1988, with a bright mid-’60s California folk-rock vibe, mixing Revolver-style guitar crunch with bittersweet and witty lyrics.

Susanna Hoffs’ chirpy lead vocal on “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution),” a recent Elvis Costello composition, is a rollicking start to Doll Revolution, Oddly, the worst song on the album is also the first single: “Something That You Said” is a dreary, programmed dirge that should satisfy fans of the syrupy “Eternal Flame,” the last big hit from the ladies’ over-produced Everything album. Thankfully, the majority of the album delves back into the band’s pre-“Walk Like An Egyptian” paisley garage band days.

Though Pat Benatar’s hit-making career peaked about the same time as the Bangles’ previous album, she has continued to record, often with uneven results. Her newest release Go — while offering a variety of styles within her Crimes of Passion-era arena rock — successfully sticks to her trademark anthems (“I Won’t”) and overwrought power ballads (“Girl”). Crisp production by husband Neil Giraldo keeps his multi-tracked guitars and keyboard accents up front.

While both albums, in another decade, would surely produce several hit singles, how these modern takes on ’80s pop will fare in today’s marketplace is anyone’s guess. Before the albums are relegated to the cut-out bins, be advised: They represent some of the best music these artists have produced in years.