Music Review: The B-52s, Funplex

So what do you call it when one of the premier party bands of the 80s returns after a 16-year hiatus sounding almost exactly the same as before, as if the passage of time had not altered them in any way?  Not a bad thing, actually.  There have been many changes in the world since 1992 when the B-52s released their last full-length studio album, and not all of them have been good.  In light of this, it definitely helps to know that something out there has not changed.

Right from the opening track you will see that this is the exact same B-52s sound that you have come to know and love.  Fred Schneider’s distinctive half-sung, half-spoken vocals sound exactly the same as ever, and Kate Pearson and Cindy Strickland are whooping it up just like ex-high school cheerleaders.  (Yes, Cindy Strickland is back.  She took a pass on “Good Stuff” in 1992, but she’s back in action this time around.)  It is only towards the middle of the album that the electronic influence starts to kick in and remind us that we are indeed still here in 2008.

It all adds up to the fun, garish, B-movie/surfboard/kitsch sound that has been distinctive of the B-52s ever since their inception back in the late 70s.  So don’t worry about war in the Middle East, high gas prices, the housing crunch, the credit crisis, the impending economic troubles, etc.  Just put on this CD and know that somewhere out there the party’s still rollicking along exactly as it was back in happier times.

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