Bonnie Hayes

Brave New Girl

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The six-song EP Brave New Girl doesn't have the giddy power pop fizz of Bonnie Hayes & the Wild Combo's 1982 debut, Good Clean Fun. It's a more subdued set of songs with a much different musical feel. Although the Wild Combo is expanded to a quintet with the addition of second guitarist Bill Engel, the musical focus has shifted emphatically to Hayes' keyboards, with synthesizers supplementing and in some cases replacing the piano and organ of her earlier arsenal. Add in the generally slower tempos and Brave New Girl might seem like a bit of a snooze at first. However, Hayes' new songs (all written in combo with producer Steve Savage and/or guitarist Paul Davis) are, though less immediate, in some cases even richer than those on Good Clean Fun. The Elvis Costello-like "Incommunicado" and the bittersweet rocker "Night Baseball" are particularly impressive, while the title track continues the defiant feminism of Good Clean Fun's "Girls Like Me." Hayes would go in an entirely new musical direction after this self-released EP, developing the soulful R&B side of her musical personality that's hinted at here, but Brave New Girl is proof that new wave bands could mature gracefully.

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