The B-52s Funplex

The B-52s Funplex
The B-52s work overtime to make Funplex a sexy party record for nerds but, in pushing their sound towards electronic dance grooves, some of their raw charm is sacrificed. It’s difficult to suggest that the iconic Athens, GA quartet sound formulaic because they invented the formula. On one hand, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson continue to harmonise with gleeful exuberance, while vocalist Fred Schneider yells key phrases for emphasis. The trio sound at home on "Pump,” as guitarist/arranger Keith Strickland sets a villainous riff loose atop a driving beat, and the singers coo come-ons. That heady mix of juvenile sexedelica and raunchy rock also appears on "Ultraviolet” but, despite gritty vocal takes, there’s a production sheen that tidies the song up too much. It’s an indie techno trick frequently employed on Funplex, which is more apparent and less successful on the Madonna-meets-Beat Happening hijinks of "Eyes Wide Open” and "Love in the Year 3000,” where the essence of the B-52s is lost. (EMI)