Today’s POP RESCUE from an unknown future, is the 1989 album Big Bang! by girl quartet Fuzzbox. Is this album like the beginning of something big, or is it more like a fizzle? Read on…
The album opens with the incredibly catchy hit second single Pink Sunshine, which will cause anyone strains if they dare not jiggle or at least sing along. It’s a brilliant pop record, and the perfect open to this Big Bang.
Second track Fast Forward Futurama brings us into the first album-track territory, and it’s a good strong track. Lighter in pop than Pink Sunshine, but still catchy enough to carry the pace.
Third track Jamaican Sunrise feels a bit odd sitting here amongst the rest of the songs here because it’s so different in style. I don’t think it really fits here.
Next up is a cover of the Yoko Ono 1981 track Walking On Thin Ice. This was the final single from the album and only reached #76 in the UK chart. I’m not familiar with Yoko’s version, but i’d be inclined to guess that it’s better. (and on review, it’s too close to call – Yoko’s bassline is better).
We’re then into the album track Versatile For Discos And Parties which has a lot of samples, and feels very eighties (think Goonies soundtrack level). There are some nice bits – the drums, the seductive and breathy vocals again from Vix, and the ‘Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang’ section.
Then we’re into the album’s lead single, an unmistakeable tribute to the animated puppet series Thunderbirds (including a brilliant video, see below), International Rescue, which almost gave them their a whiff of the top ten – reaching number 11 in the UK. This has remained their biggest hit, and it really is a brilliant piece of pop, and pop video making. Well done Fuzzbox marketing team!
Following this is the brilliantly belting track Self! laced with rock guitars, reminding you that whilst they might appear to be a four-piece version of Bananarama, they’re actually more of a half-way house between them and Transvision Vamp. This track is flawless. It was also their only single to chart in the USA.
Next up is Irish Bride, musically you won’t be expecting it. This is a slow ballad, with a celtic feeling. It feels somewhat out of place here, but Vix’s vocals are delicate and high here, reminding me a little at times of Marcella Detroit.
A return to form and pace is the track Do You Know? which I think is a brilliant little pop gem, although the vocals get a little difficult to hear at times in the verses.
The album closes with Beauty, and it lives up to its name. It’s a shorter track, but one that is perfectly formed, and also giving a nod to environmental causes, asking ‘Can you kill beauty at will?‘ and then closing with a loud aeroplane taking off to drown the song out.
Where are Fuzzbox now?
Fuzzbox split after this album, although managed to release one single before doing so in 1990, which reached #100 in the UK. A few hits compilations albums followed, including some tracks that were recorded for this album’s abandoned follow-up.
Forward to 2010, and the group had reunited, minus drummer Tina, and they released a cover of M’s hit Pop Muzik, but sadly it did not chart. Despite this, the group went on a tour, gathering some media exposure along the way.
In 2012, guitarist Jo Dunne sadly died after a short illness
POP RESCUE RATING:
I bought this on vinyl originally, but it’s been at least 15 years since I last heard it, so jumped at the chance to rescue this CD version. This was the band’s second full studio album, and also their final.
Fuzzbox had the benefit of hit songwriter Liam Sternberg on tracks Pink Sunshine, International Rescue, Versatile For Discos And Parties, and Fast Forward Futurama – he’d already written Walk Like An Egyptian for The Bangles, and his career would include Kirsty MacColl.
However, the band were also able to pen some great tracks too – including Self!, Do You Know, and Beauty.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1989 UK CHART POSITION: #5
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from ThatsEntertainment