Friday, February 12, 2016

World Party 3: Bang!

With the third album under the World Party moniker, Karl Wallinger would have you believe they grew into a real live band, with a dedicated drummer and a multi-instrumentalist on board. However, much of Bang! sounds less like a band in a room than a guy layering canned instruments and effects within a mix.
A shuffling rhythm that sounds an awful lot like recent Waterboys albums drives “Kingdom Come”, but with more of a country influence and a stumbling transition when the chords finally change. While a pleasant single, “Is It Like Today?” is about as repetitive as the first track, and its best hook was already used in “Put The Message In The Box”. “What Is Love All About?” melds too much of a Prince influence with silly sound effects, while the operatic “And God Said…” interlude picks the wrong place to make an ecological statement. Some purple echoes return on “Give It All Away”, which is otherwise a decent jam with lots of guitar, and “Sooner Or Later” continues the funk with a groove crossed between Steely Dan and, yes, the Beatles.
Generic dance beats rules the balance of the album, which hides the potential of the songs. “Hollywood” actually has good hooks in both the verses and the chorus, but “Radio Days” merely weaves spoken snippets in between the beats and seemingly inconsequential lyrics. If not for his own voice, “Rescue Me” could be mistaken for any number of new jack swing tracks of the era. Just in time, “Sunshine” provides relief and variety with an acoustic strum crossing “Wild Horses” with “You’re A Big Girl Now” and a bridge that borrows liberally from “Getting In Tune” (the first overt Who steal in his catalog). “All I Gave” is another excellent track that sounds like “classic” World Party before a reprise of “Give It All Away”, and, on the CD, the obligatory twenty-minute gap of silence that was all the rage in the ‘90s before a hidden track called “Kuwait City” that thinly disguises a Gulf War protest in the form of a Beach Boys parody.
Anything would be a letdown after Goodbye Jumbo, but even now, just as then, Bang!’s effect is more like a thud. Many years later it would be rereleased with a new cover, and combined the two halves of “Give It All Away” into one track while lopping off “Kuwait City” from the end, but didn’t do much to change the fact that there’s not enough substance holding up the songs.

World Party Bang! (1993)—

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