While these ladies may be older, they still have it, they still want it, and they will most likely be hitting you up for it in the not too distant future...
“Time, time, time/See what’s become of me” would be such a gloriously loaded start to this, were it not for the fact that the last 11 years appear to have been very kind to The Bangles. Sure, they might be a tad softer around the edges – ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’ kicks in without that same spiked-heel riff – but as lead guitarist Vicki Peterson puts it, “We’re The Bangles…we’re still The Bangles.”
It doesn’t take much of the bubblegummy ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ to show that a sour personal past hasn’t sucked the sweetness out of their Beach Boys harmonies. Plus, unlike so many ex-’80s rockers, they still look good. The sight of a coy, mini-skirted Susanna Hoffs singing, “you won’t regret it, if you let me stay/I’ll teach you everything that a boy should know” over the furious back beat of ‘In My Room’ is more than enough male fantasy to last another 11 years of waiting.
We jangle through the new song, ‘Stealing Rosemary’, with a nod to The Byrds, a hint of Lush, and a slightly ethereal edge, but in terms of their signature pop sound standard, it definitely passes. As drummer Debbi Peterson takes to acoustic guitar and lead vocals for a folky ‘Going Down To Liverpool’ and bassist Michael Steele takes a rockabilly run at the Mose Allison-via-The Yardbirds song, ‘I’m Not Talking’, it’s amazing that this didn’t splinter into solo careers.
So, if anyone here is a victim of the ’80s, it’s the audience. The late 20s/early 30s-type women, once a wild hair-sprayed pack of fishnet vixens, are now content to sit as if this were an episode of Friends. There’s no swaying, no shimmying, no lock-armed, girls-night-out, ‘Dancing Queen’ thing…nothing. Even as ‘Eternal Flame’ soars to a full-blown, four-strong, tear-jerker of a chorus, no one goes for their lighters. In the end, they do get up and bop along to ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, which turns a corner into the “doot-doots” of ‘Mrs. Robinson’.
‘Mrs. Robinson’ is about right too, because while these ladies may be older, they still have it, they still want it, and they will most likely be hitting you up for it in the not too distant future. Really, can you resist it?