Seats about 20
The B-52s, Georgiaâ€šÃ„Ã´s most rambunctious party band from the â€šÃ„Ã²80s, have returned with new studio album Funplex after a 16-year drought. Funplex retains the wacky enthusiasm and campiness that defined their sound, but adds slick synthesizers and drum machine courtesy of New Order producer Steve Osborne.Like shrill twin towers of sound, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson harmonize in high-pitched call and response with Fred Schneider’s spoken-word bursts of phrase. “Eyes Wide Open” and “Love in the Year 3000” are some of the weaker tracks; the former is muffled and in need of prodding, while both are languid attempts at European trance. By contrast, opener “Pump” is indeed the most heart-pumping track, with a racing dirty bass riff, in the spirit of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” and a bridge of conga beats. Meanwhile, single “Juliet of the Spirits” has an endearing melody that is absent of the sometimes screeching vocals that can creep into other B-52s songs.
Temperate fans of the 1989 smash “Love Shack” will not find the same type of runaway hit on Funplex. However, the B-52s still have plenty of fun, nonsensical tales to carry to the latest party via solid, danceable tunes.