Cosmic Thing

Cosmic Thing

Ten years after the Athens, Georgia group released their debut album to surprising mainstream success, the B-52’s had another monster hit on their hands with the quick ascendancy of “Love Shack” to the top of the pop charts. Suddenly, a band that had formed as a do-it-yourself novelty during the punk-new wave era of the late ‘70s (and which had suffered and were mourning the loss of band member Ricky Wilson to AIDS in 1985) arrived back in the public eye in a major way. This 1989 release skillfully employes the services of two veteran, near stylistically opposite producers in Nile Rodgers and Don Was and manages to update the group’s sound without losing its fun-lovin’ ‘60s meets New Wave soul. The usual quirks are smoothed over and pressed strategically into service for the attractively streamlined pop of  “Roam,” and  “Deadbeat Club.” Elsewhere (the title track, “Channel Z”) singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson punctuate the festive atmosphere with their emphatic yelps, harmonies and call-and-response vocals while Fred Schneider shouts instructions like a zany cruise ship-director.

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