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Album: Susanna Hoffs - Bright Lights | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Susanna Hoffs - Bright Lights

Album: Susanna Hoffs - Bright Lights

Another pleasant collection of covers from the Bangles’ front woman

'Bright Lights': improbable cover versions in a laidback style

It’s been almost 10 years since Bangles’ front woman Susanna Hoffs has released any original tunes, preferring instead to go for unexpected songs by reasonably well-known artists.

This is a pity, as she’s had a hand in writing more than a few cracking tracks over the years – “Hero Takes a Fall” and “Dover Beach” from the Bangles’ first album All Over the Place being particularly notable examples. Still, if the muse isn’t giving up the goods, improbable cover versions is as good a way to go as any.

So it is with her latest solo album, Bright Lights, which features reinterpretations of songs by (mainly) ‘60s bands that would be unlikely to appear on their “Greatest Hits” discs or at any ‘60s karaoke night. Hence, we get the Monkees’ “You Just May Be the One”, Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” and (the non-‘60s) Prince’s “Take Me With U”. However, given that Hoffs’ vocal style is so distinctive and that she tends to stick to her tried-and-tested jangly guitars and vocal harmonies-style, this record could just as easily be a fun, rediscovered collection of out-takes from the Bangles’ heyday.

This isn’t such a bad thing, and her attempt at Richard and Linda Thompson’s “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” is quite a thing of beauty. It is her sublime version of Syd Barrett’s woozy “No Good Trying”, with its layers of psychedelic grooviness, that really hits the spot though. In fact, its production style, which takes some cues from the film soundtrack to the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, suggests that with a bit more confidence, this album could quite easily have taken Hoffs a few more steps away from her (or perhaps her record company’s) comfort zone and into somewhere considerably more fascinating and unexpected.

This record could just as easily be a fun, rediscovered collection of out-takes from the Bangles’ heyday

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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