Sparkle*Jets U.K.

Bamboo Lounge

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AllMusic Review by

You can only come out of left field once, and the Sparkle*Jets U.K. had already managed to stretch their novelty by following up their irreverent debut with a full-fledged tribute album to themselves. So the band wisely decided not to replicate In, Through and Beyond and took a different approach entirely with Bamboo Lounge. Susan West is utilized more directly here; while her off-kilter character added variety to the debut, now she's brought front and center. The production on her tracks makes her vocal growl sound like her DNA was lifted from Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson. And her material ups the ante, too -- instead of being ambivalent about the death of a controlling boyfriend, she's now a caterwauler at a square dance where the participants will all be shot dead (yes, really). And Simmons responds by turning out a set of songs that are more faithful to power pop conventions than anything on the debut, such as the gorgeous "Sorry." There are no covers this time and they are missed, but to replace them the band makes a few liberal lifts from '70s classics like "Rock & Roll All Nite" by Kiss (in "She May Be Nice") and Elvis Costello's "Alison" (in "Beautiful Girl"). And the package is rounded out by a lounge instrumental, a twisted children's song, and album packaging that resembles the drink menu at a Chinese restaurant. Adoration of junk culture has never been as silly or as fun as this.

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