Glow is former Bongos frontman Richard Barone's first album of new material since 1993's Clouds Over Eden, but he didn't spend the 17 years in between simply lolling about. Barone kept busy producing other artists, supervising large-scale, multi-artist events, including a high-profile all-star tribute to Peggy Lee, and writing for the theater, among other things. But when Barone began collaborating with longtime friend Tony Visconti, the seeds for Glow were sown. Visconti, of course, is best known as the producer of ‘70s glam rock classics by the likes of David Bowie and T. Rex (though his work extends way beyond that), and those records were hugely influential to glam addict Barone. In fact, there are glam signifiers all over Glow, from a cover of Marc Bolan's "Girl" to the presence of a stylophone (famous for providing the electronic sounds on Bowie's "Space Oddity"), and even a photo of Barone resplendent in a Lou Reed Transformer T-shirt and glitter jacket. It comes as something of a surprise, then, that Glow doesn't sound particularly glammy at all. Despite the aforementioned overt nods to that sequined ‘70s world, Glow is no retro affair; rather, it's a distinctly contemporary-sounding outing that seems to incorporate the sensibilities that have informed each phase of Barone's artistic development over the years, from his Bongos power pop days through his chamber pop period and beyond. For his part, Visconti is much more than a co-producer here (Steve Addabbo, Steve Rosenthal, and Barone himself also produced a few tracks) -- he wrote many of the songs with Barone and contributes a multitude of instruments. Together, Visconti and Barone craft everything from sparkling orchestral pop ("Glow") to swaying, Latin-tinged sensuality (it's not impossible to imagine Marc Anthony covering "1-2-3…Infinity") and throbbing rock & roll ("Sanctified"), serving a reminder that Barone remains a popmeister of the highest order.
AllMusic Review by James Allen