Rounder Records may have been hoping for a Bangles with more integrity by signing up Têtes Noires and putting them into the studio for their third (and first non-self-made) album, Clay Foot Gods, with Victor DeLorenzo and Brian Ritchie of Violent Femmes as producers. Instead, they got a band that mixed folk and choral influences with the kind of lighter new wave sound of Blondie and the B-52's. Boasting two keyboard players, the group could easily recreate the cheesy B-52's organ style (derived from the likes of ? and the Mysterians) heard on "Tell Me When," while "Plain" had much of the sleek energy of Blondie's hits. Of course, such material required compelling vocalists, and while the vocals could be a tad too slickly harmonious, both Camille Gage and Jennifer Holt were effective leads. The problem with the album may not have been that it was too commercial for the group's existing fan base, but that it wasn't commercial enough (or released by a powerful enough marketer). "Dear Jane," for example, was a pop hit waiting to happen; that is, if it could have been produced in an even more pop style and if America were ready to embrace a song about the breakup of apparently gay lovers.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann