Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bonnie Hayes & The Wild Combo - Brave New Girl (1984)

Released: 1984 (Bondage Records)
Produced by: Steve Savage and the band

Side One Side Two
Brave New Girl
After Hours
Wild Heart
Nigh Baseball

Here's a rare, out of print EP release from an obscure label (possibly it was self-released??). This thing never had a chance and that's a shame. The group's first album, Good Clean Fun (from which two songs were selected for inclusion in the 1983 Valley Girl movie), is a New Wave masterpiece and they were primed for stardom beyond their native California. Alas, it was not to be and they deserved more fame than what they got.

Here's what Robert Christgau wrote about the EP: Her climactic love song is called "Night Baseball," so obviously her tomboy credentials are in excellent order. Which come to think of it could be why the compassionate, catchy cool of her debut album has succumbed to the schlocky pop her (male, natch) musicians have a yen for. B-

I like it slightly better than Mr. Christgau:

My vinyl copy of the EP was apparently originally owned by WPEA, a prep school radio station out of New Hampshire. In addition to my comments below, I'll add what the teenage program director wrote about each track. You can see said comments in the image of the back album cover below:

  • Brave New Girl: Fantastic New Wave cut. As with most Hayes tunes, I'm hooked from the first note - in this case, a syncopated guitar arpeggio. You don't often hear harmony vocals on the verse of a pop song, but they're here and they're perfect.  Too bad the overdrive guitar solo is too far back in the mix. [WPEA notes: "great! Play."]
  • Incommunicado: with a hooks lifted straight from Steely Dan's "FM" and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," this reggae-lite tune doesn't have much of a chorus and the piano solo is weak, but the groove sure is fun. [WPEA notes: "nice calypso"]
  • After Hours: a gorgeous piano-based ballad. Hayes is such a strong songwriter, that you hardly notice the atypical song structure and meter changes. [WPEA notes: "bad"]
  • Wild Heart: not much to the verse and even though there's a great build-up to the chorus, there's not much to that either. It's almost as if Hayes was told by a record exec to write a hit single using the typical New Wave tropes. [WPEA notes: "bad lyrics & sound"]
  • Maria: Love the chorus and bridge on this one. [WPEA notes: "mellow, nice"]
  • Night Baseball: a high-energy album closer full of euphemisms. The Wild combo obviously had a good time with this one - hard driving drums and great guitar work over a bouncing bass line.  Gets me up and dancing. [WPEA notes; "combo: Who + Police worthless!!!]

  1. Brave New Girl
  2. After Hours
  3. Night Baseball
  4. Maria
  5. Wild Heart
  6. Incommunicado

1 comment :

  1. Yay, Ms. Hayes!

    You need to track down everyone involved with the Exeter Academy radio station in 1984. Would love to see what the young person who marked up the record - sacrilege! - is doing now. Hopefully serving hard-time somewhere if there is any justice in the world.