Apart from a failed reunion of the Shangri-Las in the late '70s, Mary Weiss has been out of the music business for over 30 years. Dangerous Game is her comeback and it's a darn good one, better than most would have expected. She and her band, the very good modern garage rockers the Reigning Sound, don't set out to recreate the Shangri-Las sound. They also don't go the other direction and try to do something modern or hip. Instead they craft a sound that nods back to the girl group era but also sounds informed by garage rock and good old rock & roll. The songs are built around simple melodies and tough but romantic sentiments, then delivered with a punchy, live sound. Reigning Sound leader Greg Cartwright writes most of the songs and he has a knack for hooky, tight rockers and aching ballads. All of which sets the stage for the most important question: do Weiss' vocals let down the side? Happily, they don't. She sounds undeniably older, but she also has the same essence of simple sweetness mixed with toughness that made her vocals so amazing back in the old days. The production makes her the focus of the record, and she never stumbles, sounds forced, or out of place. On the uptempo tracks like "You're Never Gonna See Me Cry" or "Don't Come Back," she rocks convincingly. On the ballads like "Dangerous Game" or "I Just Missed You," she exudes real emotion. The only misstep on the record is the cover of "Heaven Only Knows"; it's the only moment where you compare new Weiss to the old, idealized version. She comes off well, but it makes you nostalgic for the Shangri-Las instead of excited about her return. And this is a return worth getting excited about. As great as it is for fans of girl groups and the Shangri-Las to have Weiss recording again, the real test of a comeback record is whether it would be as good if it were by a new band or a bunch of unknowns. Dangerous Game passes that test with ease. One can only hope it's the beginning of a new chapter for Weiss and she keeps making records as solid and entertaining as this.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra