Review: “The Time” by Bros (Vinyl, 1989)


Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown is the 1989 second album The Time by British sibling pop duo, Bros. Will this album be like a Chocolate Box full of your favourites, or will it be all Too Much? Read on…

Bros' 1989 album 'The Time'
Bros’ 1989 album ‘The Time’

We’re straight in with Madly In Love, which gently wafts in with some great vocals and synths before a funky set of beats and bass arrive. The song quickly evolves into a really catchy song, that sounds like it might have been a cover of some old disco-funk track. It’s quite a long track, but it’s so good that you let it off. Right near the end, the track switches style for a moment before a guitar solo brings it back home. This was the album’s fourth and final single, reaching #14 in the UK, and their first to miss the Top 10.

This is followed by lead single Too Much which opens with some bouncing shabby synths as a beat kicks in and Matt Goss’ signature ‘hurrugh’ vocal arrives. Again, this is another catchy track which gave them a #2 UK hit in the summer of 1989. The chorus is undoubtedly my favourite bit.

Chocolate Box follows and again it’s a nice upbeat track, and I can imagine Michael Jackson singing this one, as it includes those vocal signatures that were throughout his songs, and similar to Bros. Unsurprisingly therefore, it was the album’s second single, reaching #9 in the UK and their lowest charting single at that point. There’s a nice guitar solo in the middle, which helps lead us towards the finale.

Up next is Money, and this song takes the tempo down. Breathy vocals feature here and while it probably drove their teenage fans crazy with its sensual mood, it feels pretty weak to me.

Closing Side One is Streetwise, which creeps in all dark and mysterious with growling synths. The vocals are low and moralistic, and the music is very 80s, and must have sounded very fresh and new at the time. Now, the track sounds quite dated. It ends with the kind of lyrics that would have made He-Man happy: “don’t steal off your Mommas, don’t steal off your Fathers, don’t steal off your Brothers, don’t steal off your Friends“. A curious lack of Sisters, but they will address that in a few track’s time.

Side Two opens with Club Fool, which feels like the better sibling of the previous track. It’s not particularly catchy, and the stylised vocals are again a bit moralistic. This is a bit of a dull track overall and felt a bit too long as a result.

Black And White opens with the famous Matt Goss vocal growl. This is quite a catchy song, and feels like it belongs as a mid-section of Michael Jackson’s identically racially themed hit of a similar name. It has a nice tempo and catchy bass.

Up next is Don’t Bite The Hand and this feels like a return to form. The song races along with a pounding bass drum and make the chorus sound catchy along with its nice warm vocal harmonies. Great stuff!

Penultimate song Space follows this, and it’s a mid-tempo track, complete with Obligatory 80s Saxophone. It also allows Matt to show off his vocal range a bit more than the previous songs.

The album closes with Sister, a tribute to their late sister Carolyn, to whom the whole album is dedicated after she was killed by a drunk-driver. This is a slow number, and whilst undoubtedly a sad song, it works wonderfully, especially as the ending to this album. The track also gave the duo a #10 hit in the UK. The vocals are soft, tender, and richly layered, and then Matt throws out a hugely emphatic vocal ending on the song bringing the album to a close.

Bros’ lead single ‘Too Much’

Verdict

Over all, this is an album that shows the duo taking a more mature sound, and as a result it’s a more reflective album too which is demonstrated by some of the more downbeat and moralistic messages in the lyrics.

The singles are highlights, with the addition of Don’t Bite The Hand.

The energy found in their debut Push (from the previous year) is absent at times, but the album still makes for a decent companion.

Rated 3 stars - Give it a go!
  • POP RESCUE 2020 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 1989 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #4, certified Gold by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Marie Curie shop.

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