Review: ‘Sacred Heart’ by Shakespear’s Sister (CD, 1989)


Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the debut album from duo Shakespear’s Sister – 1989’s Sacred Heart.

Three years before their big hit album Hormonally Yours, and the hit single Stay, duo Siobhan Fahey (ex-Bananarama) and Marcella Detroit released this album.

The album opens with Heroine, part of the double A side first single from the album. It starts with some bass-heavy synths, matching Siobhan’s lower vocal tone. Bananarama fans must have been in a shock if they followed Siobhan.

Next up is Run Silent, Run Deep, which starts with a chugging bass and beats. This was their third single, but it only reached #54 in the UK.

Dirty Mind follows, it’s more upbeat, and perhaps a bit more catchy than the previous track. This was the fourth and final single from the album, although it was remixed, but it sadly only reached #71 in the UK.

Title track Sacred Heart is up next, which made it onto the soundtrack of Nuns On The Run. This is the first track where Marcella’s vocals are most evident. It’s a fairly mellow track, and unmistakably 80s. Originally Siobhan had intended Shakespear’s Sister to be a solo project, but after Marcella was hired to help write, she became a permanent fixture after the first single failed to chart.

Heaven Is In Your Arms follows, and it’s a bit more upbeat than Sacred Heart, and track Twist The Knife follows this too, with a welcome Spanish section. Sadly, neither are particularly interesting.

Thankfully single You’re History is up next, and both are on great vocal form. Eurythmics producer Jimmy Iovine produced this track, and I think that’s partly why it stands out. Thank goodness Siobhan married David A Stewart! This single gave the duo a #7 UK hit, and quite rightly so.

Gem Break My Heart is up next, and this was the other part of the double A side single with opening track Heroine. Aside from You’re History, it’s the best song on the album, but sadly the single didn’t chart.

Tracks Red Rocket is a bit of a grower, with it’s chugging guitars and Charlie Wilson (from The Gap Band) on backing vocals.

Up next is the minimal track Electric Moon, which is a delightful little, simple, quiet track. Here, Siobhan and Marcella are pitched against a light beat and guitar.

Primitive Love takes a while to get going, and I can imagine that it’s a great song to play live as a kind of bridge between tracks. There’s an element of Spirit In The Sky in the guitars.

Up next is a weird choice of cover version, Bob Marley’s track Could You Be Loved, which sounds like Siobhan stole it on her final walk out of the Bananarama studio. It doesn’t sit here easily, and feels out of place.

The album closes with a good strong track – You Made Me Come To This – which finishes the album on an upbeat, good way, and almost acts as a precursor for their next album.

There’s some nice synth and lyrics scattered through this album, but it is difficult to get into. It’s definitely an 80s album, and it definitely shows that there’s more Siobhan on this album than Marcella. In most tracks it feels like they’re holding back, and Siobhan’s vocals are sometimes just so low in places, or quiet, that it’s hard to hear what she’s singing about.

Thankfully, their record label didn’t ditch them, otherwise their second album would never have been released in 1992.

Where are Shakespear’s Sister now?

After this album, the duo hit success with their second album Hormonally Yours, and their big single Stay. With a few more hit singles following that, Marcella was ejected from the duo.

Siobhan continues to perform and release under the Shakespear’s Sister moniker, and Marcella Detroit went on to have her own successful solo career, and often turns up as a featured artist on other people’s songs.

POP RESCUE RATING:

  • POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 2 / 5
  • 1989 UK CHART POSITION: #9
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.

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