It's a case of heading back to the past for February's 'best pop of the month' instalment.
The 80s continues to be the reference point for a bundle of new and emerging pop artists and I’ve handpicked the best of the Bananarama-ery bunch for you.
DownVega – Give You My Love [Single]
Sometimes you know almost instantly when hearing the opening few bars of a track that it’s totally going to float your musical boat. DownVega have one of the debut singles of the year in the form of ‘Give You My Love’. With so much female fronted, 80s referencing synth pop flooding the market it’s mighty tough to stand out. The vocal on this one owes more to the late Laura Branigan or pop rock goddess Pat Benatar than the Charli XCX brat pop movement. Indeed if Laura was alive today and guesting on a Chvrches track, this is what it would sound like. A sparkly bit of neon goodness.
Chelsea Lankes – Bullet [Single]
The look, the chorus, the vocal. Beauty in simplicity applies across all three here. Chelsea is slowly building a name for herself with a series of incredibly high quality single releases all of which have tipped their hat to a radio friendly 80s sound yet managed to be very of the moment. Somehow she managed to turn Motley Crue’s ‘Too Young To Fall In Love’ into a belting electro ballad. ‘Bullet’ may be her best yet and an EP drops in April.
Chiara Hunter – Strange Relationships [EP]
Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ and Fleur East’s subsequent ‘Sax’ have opened the door to a bit of a funky diva revival. St Vincent has actually been doing this for a while with her glitchy, fuzzed up brand of alternative funk but London based Aussie is aiming very much for the mainstream. It’s actually Wendy and Lisa, formerly of Prince’s band The Revolution, who provide the inspiration here. Chiara’s EP positively fizzes with uptempo exuberance. ‘Hammer’ updates Chaka Khan’s underrated ‘Never Miss The Water’ whilst ‘War’ is ‘Around The World In A Day’ era Paisley Park purple loveliness. And the EP’s title track tiddles all over anything Jess Glynne (who Chiara has been opening for on tour) has released in her infuriatingly successful year in the spotlight.
St Lucia – Matter [ALBUM]
It’s not just the ladies who know their way around a Dirty Dancing soundtrack or who have belted Robin Beck’s Coca-Cola theme ‘The First Time’ into a hairbrush microphone (although can I say I am not guilty of either of those things?) Originating from South Africa, St Lucia have made a name for themselves in the past few years as purveyors of super sunny, 80s power pop. These guys just released their 2nd album Matter and it lays claim to being pop album of the year and we are only just into March. Not keeping the good stuff all to themselves they’ve also been handling production duties for other acts like the criminally ignored Haerts (how big a hit should ‘Wings’ have been?). ‘Matter’ mixes up some of the sounds we heard on the debut record with massively uncool acts like Huey Lewis And The News and Bruce Hornsby And The Range, as well as one hit wonders Robbie Nevil and Owen Paul (both ‘C’est La Vie’ and ‘My Favourite Waste Of Time’ spring heavily to mind).