Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bow Wow Wow: Wild In The USA

For four years, African beats, punk rock, and manic pop added up to an irresistible frenzy in Bow Wow Wow, resulting in a large cult following and one minor-but-memorable Stateside hit, "I Want Candy." That the group was able to sell out clubs all over the U.S. 15 years after its demise speaks volumes about Bow Wow Wow's enduring appeal and timeless party sound. Wild In The USA is the band's first release since its 1983 break-up, compiling six remixes and 14 live tracks from the recent tour. The remixes are, with one exception, failures, pure and simple: Participants like Wayne Hussey (The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission) have no business listening to Bow Wow Wow, let alone fooling with its charms. Replacing the songs' beats with an electronic metronome while adding industrial crunch effectively removes any charm they once might have had. The exception is Kevin Haskins' remix of "C30 C60 C90 Go!," which leaves the drums mostly intact and creates a dance-worthy track. The production of the live tracks is a bit flat, as well, failing to capture the energy of the band thanks to cymbal crashes that are too hot and bass that's far too muted. Make no mistake, though: Even a hand-held Walkman recording of "Do You Wanna Hold Me" and "Baby Oh No" couldn't conceal the kinetic joy of the live experience. The hit is included, although the encouraged audience participation of Santa Fe is lacking, as if they didn't really seem to want candy. For shame, Santa Fe. Bow Wow Wow may tour again, and continues to deserve your attention, but Wild In The USA is a tepid substitute.


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