After a wait of three years since their first album, the girls released their sophomore album and gone was the sloppy playing, replaced with slick dance beats and glossy production. I remember hearing their single “Self” on the radio and seeing the video and was surprised at the new sound and sexier look that the band was now sporting. The album was one of those get it if I see it, but I didn’t pick it up until it was released on CD later on. With the re-release of the album as a double CD with bonus tracks, it deserves a fresh listen.
The album does have a huge ’80s shine to the production, and the overt pop sound does start to get a bit much in places, but the exuberance of the band really stands out. The songs are concise and full of hooks that should have made this a bigger hit for them, but sadly, it didn’t turn out that way and other than one more single after this album, they were gone far too soon. After the one-two punch of “Pink Sunshine” and “Fast Forward Futurama”, the band kind of falters with a few indulgent, boring songs, “Jamaican Sunrise”, “Walking On Thin Ice” and “Versatile For Discos And Parties”, thankfully the band gets things going again on “International Rescue”. “Self” is next and is still one of the best pop songs with a nice hard edge to it that I’ve heard in a long time. The fantastic thing about this song, other than just how brilliant it is, is the inclusion of Brian May from QUEEN adding guitar to the song. One more mediocre song rounds off the album, “Irish Bride”, but it still holds up pretty damn well.
The first CD has the original ten track album, digitally remastered, whilst the second CD offers up a fifteen track bonus journey into the latter-day Fuzzbox archives, featuring: twelve-inch mixes, B-sides, rarities, CD exclusives, recordings from the Out of This World sessions and the 2004 Syndrum Mix of Fast Forward Futurama featuring Manda Rin (Bis).
Go out and grab a copy and hear a band that had the chops to be a big deal playing some incredible songs mixed with a few mediocre ones that don’t take away from the fun that you will have listening to it. I’m glad that I had a chance to re-evaluate the album after all these years, it’s better than I remembered and with the clear sounding remaster, it sounds better than ever.