Bangles – Bangles

This is the 1983 release (on Miles Copeland’s Faulty Records) of The Bangles’ first record, just titled “Bangles.” (No “the” on title or band at that point. In fact, there’s a radio promo that calls them “The Bangs,” which was their name before becoming “Bangles.” There was another band named “The Bangs,” and the name switch was apparently made just before the record release.)

Bangles EP front cover
Bangles EP front cover – I don’t know where most of the letters came from, but the ‘e’ is pretty recognizable as from Esquire magazine.

This is raw, pop-rockin’ and wonderful. I remember picking this up soon after its release, not having heard of the Bangles or any of the tracks, but liking the cover, and willing to take a chance. And I loved it. Loved it. Wished there were more. It was fantastic. There was something about “I’m In Line” that sounded both old girl groupy and new new wavey at the same time. I had never heard of the Paisley Underground movement (I’m East Coast, baby. And tragically unhip), so I had no idea there was a whole subculture with this sound; if I had, I’d have gone on a buying spree. In 1983, this was an exciting new sound.

I did buy it used, probably at Desert Shore, for $3.50. It wasn’t unusual for him to have recently released used records; people often bought stuff, didn’t like it, and turned it over quickly.

I’m honestly not sure why I don’t have “All Over The Place,” the album that followed in 1984. It didn’t chart well, and didn’t really produce any singles. It’s possible that I just didn’t hear it or of it until after their next album, “Different Light,” which really did present the group in a different light, sending them into the stratosphere of sales and popularity but with a different sound. I always preferred the sound of the “Bangles” EP. Even though I bought “Different Light” and enjoyed the heck out of “Walk Like An Egyptian” like everybody else, the appeal of the new stuff was kinda lost on me. It was good, but it wasn’t fulfilling the promise of this EP.

However, I felt like they really recaptured the magic with their Matthew Sweet collaboration, “Sweetheart of the Sun,” which came out in 2011. It’s no reunion album — it’s a solid pop-rocker that picks up where “Bangles” left off.

Bangles EP back cover
Bangles EP back cover

For those who keep track of such things (and you should), this is actually pre-Michael Steele. Annette Zilinskas is the bass player on this one, and is now back with the band again in its current lineup.

Bangles EP label
Bangles EP custom label – a nice play on a classic Parlophone label (you can see one on this Marc Almond disc)

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