Cindy Wilson – Change (Album Review)

Cindy Wilson – Change (Album Review)

When Kate Pierson came up with her first-ever solo album, Guitars and Microphones in 2015, fans of her erstwhile band The B-52s were most likely elated; after all, Pierson’s characteristic chirpy vocal styling was one of the defining traits of the pioneering American New Wave band’s music; and considering that the last album of The B-52s—2008’s Funplex—was released seven years prior to that, Pierson’s songs filled in the gap like a well of wonder. Now, there is another cause for celebration for the fans and also enthusiasts of New Wave Pop music.

Cindy Wilson, the other muse of the quirky, iconic band—Pierson’s and Fred Schneider’s fellow vocalist, songwriter, and founding member—has followed the lead of her comrades. She has also pursued a solo career and is finally unleashing her long overdue, first full-length, Change, where Wilson’s sweet and refined swagger, the antithesis of Pierson’s chirpiness and Schneider’s wackiness, shines through brightly and brilliantly.

Slated for release on December 1, 2017, via the record label Kill Rock Stars, Wilson’s own oeuvre is a bubbling mix of Synthpop, New Wave, and Electronic Dance Music. It opens gracefully with the sensuous, soulful sway of “People Are Asking.”

Still carrying the same smooth sensuality, “Stand Back Time,” however, undulates with a pulsating groove, allowing it to sneak its way slowly onto the dim-lit dancefloor. The mood and the rhythm continue with the ensuing “No One Can Tell You.” Then there is the cinematic, spacey, and hypnotic Trip-Hop excursion of the title track.

“Mystic” harks back to the New Wave flamboyance of Wilson’s former band, owing to the catchy keyboard melodies and bouncy basslines. Following next is the slightly slow Synthpop ballad “Things I’d Like to Say,” which will fit seamlessly in the cutesy, chimes-and-bells-laden sonic ethos of many 2000s female-fronted Indie Pop bands like The Cardigans (“Lovefool”), Camera Obscura (“Eighties Fan”), and Stars (“What the Snowman Learned About Love”). The aptly titled “Sunrise” is a further slowing down of beat and sentimentality, with which the listener can easily imagine a ’60s-inspired coiffured Wilson crooning charmingly at some glittery five-star lounge. “On the Inside” is another feel-good, Disco-glazed track – vibrantly echoing in mirrorball glory.

The penultimate track, “Brother” is a sudden change of style, more akin to the sensibilities of The B-52s of old; think of the delirious but delicious sonic mess of classic B-52s songs like “Planet Claire,” “Private Idaho,” and “Love Shack” – complete with chainsaw guitars and frenetic drum beats. Finally, Wilson with her backing band – Suny Lyons, Ryan Monahan, Marie Davon, and Lemuel Hayes – wraps up Change with the heartrending, nostalgic Electroclash pulses of “Memory.”

Wilson’s works may have the strains and eccentricity of The B-52s’ sonic genes, but they could still stand distinctively on their own, even when compared with the solo outputs of her former bandmates Schneider and Pierson. The three equally brilliant singers-songwriters may have come from the same parent gene, but each of them has a certain unique quality, thus deserving individual accolades and confetti. CrypticRock gives Change 4 out of 5 stars.

Cindy Wilson 2017 Tour Dates:
Nov 17 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
Nov 19 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
Nov 29 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn Birmingham
Dec 3 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
Dec 4 – Washington, DC – The Black Cat
Dec 7 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
Dec 12 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo

Purchase Change:

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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.

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