The S.O.S. Band

The S.O.S. Band III

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Following a mediocre second album, 1982's S.O.S. Band III is the sound of the S.O.S. Band regaining their equilibrium, a tight set that capitalized on the slick style of newly recruited producers Ricky Sylvers and Gene Dozier, and made the Top 30 in December 1982. It's driven primarily by up-tempo, funk-inflected R&B that utilized the early-'80s tricks of the trade for pizzazz, with just a few ballads to temper the tide. Naturally, the set shines brightest among the thumpers because, as sweet as the ballads could sound, the group was always fiercest when agitating the dancefloor. (That said, they brought a beautiful ballad, "Have It Your Way," into the charts early in 1983.) The single "High Hopes," written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who would, of course, go on to produce the band), pairs a catchy hook with a quirky, synthesized flavor that is completely representative of the sound that the band and songwriters alike were honing. The process was repeated to lesser effect across "Can't Get Enough," while "Looking for You" and "Groovin' (That's What We're Doin')" put the boys back in smoother R&B-flavored waters. Although it's patchy in places, III can still be counted a success, the smooth ride across a slight stumble that would ultimately heave them to the top of the charts for another three years.

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