Matt Bianco – Whose Side Are You On

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Matt Bianco, eh? One of those ’80s groups you just accepted the existence of without really paying much attention to. This near-mint copy of their debut album had been lying around unloved in the local PDSA shop for weeks, yet it hadn’t occurred to me to actually buy the damn thing. It’s like I had a blind-spot on Matt Bianco. Then last week it just suddenly leapt out at me and shouted “Hey! I’m only 49 bloody pence, so why not give me a try?”

Matt Bianco were one of those groups, along with the likes of Modern Romance and Everything But The Girl, who tried to graft a bit of the old latin magic onto the new dance pop of the ’80s, bringing those South American grooves back in from the cold after they were so thoroughly vanquished during the disco-boom of the mid-late ’70s. The title track of this album, along with “Half A Minute” and “Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed” were big hits back in the day, very familiar to these ears and consequently high on instant nostalgia gratification. The rest of the album keeps up a pretty high standard – listening on headphones I’m particularly enjoying the densely layered percussion of “Matt’s Mood” and the sequenced basslines are surprisingly fat and funky throughout- is that the tell-tale swerve of a TB-303 I hear on “Sneaking Out The Back Door”?

I reckon the male vocalist, Mark Reilly, was outclassed by the rest of his group, but there’s no mistaking the talents of the female vocalist Basia Trzetrzelewska, who’s super-clean spangly harmonies really lift the roof off. All round, a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

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Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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