Cleopatra Records [Release date 04.03.14]
The digipak at the top of the stack didn’t look that inviting. Could it have been Dee Snider’s half-brother on the cover? There’s an awful lot of ivory around that lady’s neck. The name Dale Bozzio didn’t fill me with either relish, or recollection, either.
But it turns out Dale Bozzio was a “household name” back in the early days of MTV where she was evidently feted for her haute couture and maybe even those ivory tusks. Her style is even said to have influenced Lady Gaga via Madonna. At that time she fronted the band Missing Persons which also included her then partner Terry (Jeff Beck’s drummer in the late-eighties). Both worked with Zappa on his rock opera ‘Joe’s Garage’ and the musical ‘Thing-Fish’.
Fast forwarding to 2014 and one-time Yes singer and keys player, and general production workaholic, Billy Sherwood has helped her shape an album that is sensitive to her back-story but still sounding relevant. In short, there’s a lot of synth redolent of Bozzio’s “golden age” but it doesn’t sound too hackneyed.
The results are impressive. It’s pop rock with a dash of post-punk attitude. It follows a trajectory from The Runaways via Debbie Harry to Pink but the key thread is the strength of material.
The opener, ‘Do Or Die’, is insanely catchy along with ‘Hello Hello’ but any one of the 10 tracks is highly infectious and very accessible. One of the bonuses evokes that “golden age”, a stripped-down version of ‘Walking In L.A.’ which was a US hit for Bozzio in 1983. This is a great album – and artist – that will probably be criminally overlooked but as a comeback after some 25 years (since her solo album ‘Riot In English’) it’s a major achievement. And looks can be deceptive. ****
Review by David Randall
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