Don't Mind If I Do

Far be it from us to suggest that [a]Boy George[/a] is faintly embarrassed about reforming [a]Culture Club[/a], but he takes a page of the inner sleeve to defend himself from criticisms before they ha

Far be it from us to suggest that Boy George is faintly embarrassed about reforming Culture Club, but he takes a page of the inner sleeve to defend himself from criticisms before they happen - "however tragic it may seem to some" - and to say, "last but not least, a huge 'fuck off' to all those wankers who have called me fat". Right.

Just in case you thought they might not be totally relevant in this ruthless age, the album is introduced by a reggae toaster announcing, "De origgeeenal Coolcha Cloob back for de year tooo tousant". And yet you suspect opening track 'I Just Wanna Be Loved' deliberately echoes 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me' as a connection to past glories.

It's a pleasant enough MOR pop effort, not touching the sides as it slithers smoothly through one ear and out the other. But that's as good as this album gets.

Elsewhere, a severe lack of good tunes is disguised by big production, all gospellish backing vocals, big horns, orchestras and limp diet-reggae flavourings. 'Your Kisses Are Charity' is the only other song that registers on the tune radar. Even UB40 would consider it a little saccharine, but then Culture Club were never exactly about authenticity.

What they were about at their best, on a great '80s pop album like 'Waking Up With The House On Fire', was a flirty, coquettish pop sass, a vampish grace and a joyous feel for vintage reggae and soul-inflected pop. Now they sound like they've got nothing left to say, no real enthusiasm for what they're doing, and very little heart left in them.

Don't mind if you do? Well you won't mind if we don't, then.
4 / 10

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