Bananarama – Masquerade (Album Review)

Bananarama – Masquerade (Album Review)

One of the enduring female, Pop-oriented New Wave acts that originated from the illustrious heyday of the genre, Bananarama was formed in 1980, in London, England. The then trio of Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey, and Keren Woodward released a string of successful albums that included 1983’s Deep Sea Skiving, 1984’s self-titled, and 1986’s True Confessions. All strong albums, they also spawned now-classic hits such as “Young at Heart,” “Cruel Summer,” “Robert de Niro’s Waiting,” “Venus,” “I Heard a Rumour,” and “Love in the First Degree.”

Despite the music scene’s change of tide in the decades that followed, Bananarama was still able to come up with three albums each for the 1990s and the 2000s and one for the 2010s. Reduced to the duo of Dallin and Woodward since 1993’s Please Yourself, Bananarama – still fresh from the pre-pandemic album In Stereo of 2019 – now returns with the follow up. Titled Masquerade, Bananarama’s twelfth studio album reveals itself on Friday, July 22, 2022, via In Synk Records.

Masquerade is an eleven track endeavor nine songs of which were a collaboration between Dallin and Woodward and the British Composer/Producer Ian Masterson. It opens with the hypnotic, undulating Dance-grooved “Favourite,” which is actually a cover of a song by Dallin’s daughter known as Alice D. After the couple of equally moving and mirrorball-worthy “Stay Wild” and “Velvet Lies,” Bananarama then deliver the album’s title-track, which is another pulsating Pop-driven piece perfect for the dancefloor; it will fit onto a playlist that includes “Always” by Erasure, “The Pop Kids” by Pet Shop Boys, and “Never Say Die” by Chvrches.

Bananarama then continue their new Synthpop journey with the heartwarming pulses of “Running with the Night.” A bit mellower but still danceable, the piano-laden “Bad Love” then comes next. Afterwards, “Let’s Go Outside” takes the listener to the classic sound of the duo–easily hummable and steeped with vocal harmony. Later on, “Brand New ” and “Need a Little More” are slightly more sophisticated with their funky grooves and Sophistipop sensibilities, coming across as a blend of Sade and Duran Duran. After the cinematic, graceful allure of “Forever Young,” Dallin and Woodward finally wrap up their latest effort with the infectious and celebratory rhythm of “Waiting for the Sun to Shine.”

Amidst the ever-evolving and continually revolving music world, Bananarama remains grounded and adaptable at the same time. Always in for a good mix of their old and modern style and persona, the duo simply continue to deliver what they love best–melodic music with heartfelt lyrics and Classic Pop sensibilities. Masquerade is again full of these, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

5 Comments
  • fullimmerzion
    Posted at 09:29h, 14 August Reply

    4 out of 5 stars? R U kidding? This crap album barely deserves 2 stars. And I am a fan…

  • fullimmerzion
    Posted at 10:13h, 14 August Reply

    Sorry, not crap, I mean poor. album:;. in particolar I was very disapponted by first single “Favourite” or by tracks like “Forever young” or “Waiting for the Sun tho shine”. On my opinion, the only remarkable song is “Need a little more love” .that reminds me something like “Trick of the Night”. To me, except for their first albums in the beginning of the 80’s, Bananarama never had a solid album in their career.. Speaking about “Pop Life”. *Please yourself” or “Blue Velvet”, there are some good songs In every work, but also many bad songs. Lately I appreciated “In Stereo”, especially for “It’s gonna be alright” & “Got to get away”. As I said, I’m a fan but this new album “Masquerade” doesn’t work to me. Ciao

  • aLfie vera mella
    Posted at 11:10h, 14 August Reply

    Different people have different tastes and perception.

    If to you the album is crap, then that’s okay–it’s your own assessment or observation.

    As for me, my approach in album reviewing is not to say if the album is crap or great; after all, this is subjective. My style is simply and primarily to describe each song based on musicality and on what references it reminds me of.

    Even if you questioned my assessment, I will not question yours–that’s your own ears and experience.

    As for me, I will just carry on.

  • Zane Spenser
    Posted at 13:59h, 06 September Reply

    Bananarama’s Masquerade is no more relevant than Diana Ross’ “Thank You.” yes, both still record and both still perform but their contributions are moot as neither matter – except – for their respective generational fans.

    Masquerade is no more revelatory than any other recording. They formed in 1980 and released what they did; today, it is 2022 and what they released is simple more-of-the-same, tempered by age, some wisdom and the need to remain active.

    Masquerade will nowhere any more than “Thank You” by Diana Ross. Both continue to exist; both are invisible although, Ross continues to tour – worldwide – where Bananarama does not>

  • Steven White
    Posted at 15:24h, 04 October Reply

    I dont know what these people are listening to. I loved Diana Ross thank you release and dont half mind the Bananarama one either. Cant please everyone apparently. Is Siobhan signing on under different names to slag the girls ?

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