“Nostalgia has a shelf life” – said Boy George – the magnetic and flamboyant frontman of Culture Club when we interviewed him in October 2014. Bands reuniting for the sole purpose of touring in an attempt to resurrect their glory days is a fairly commonplace phenomenon these days. The idea is not ill-conceived by any stretch but its commercial sustainability is limited at best. Fortunately, 80s reggae-soul pop phenomenon Culture Club understand this reality as they stage their second reunion (the first one being in 1998) since their 80s heyday and grow their musical legacy.
Boy George has been teasing snippets of tracks slated to be featured on “Tribes” – the new Culture Club album – their first in 17 years. The sonic template of the band has shifted dramatically since the 80s. While Culture Club’s musical output was a culmination of the artistic merits of four incredibly talented men, it always seemed that Boy George was the band’s focal point and the other three were never given their due by the public. A lot of this might have to do with the final treatment of the music. With the new tracks, things are different. The “band” feel of Culture Club is a lot more apparent. It gives the band an additional layer of credibility that they have have not had in the 80s.
The songs boast a stylistic diversity that might not have been as apparent on the band’s earlier albums. The snippets that have surfaced so far range from the funk-oriented “Like I used to” to the “Victims-esque Just Like 73“. Culture Club even makes the foray into “Johnny Cash” territory with “Runaway train“. In a nutshell, the bits of the new album that we have heard sound very promising and have the potential to pave the way for the resurgence of one of the biggest acts of the 80s.
The album’s lead single “More Than Silence” saw the light of day yesterday and has already released for download/sale. On this track, Culture Club sheds the reggae-soul cloak in favor of a sound that is reminiscent of Irish rockers U2’s sonic blueprint – unadulterated rock characterized by the driving pulse of the bass, a tiny tinge of electronic embellishments, and a soaring chorus. Boy George’s voice is now characterized by a huskiness that may have not worked as well for his earlier material but is very well-suited to the new material. This song showcases yet another facet of the band’s versatility.
On “More Than Silence“, Boy George delves into the complicated nature of relationships that artists engage in by virtue of their constant need for an audience. For some odd reason, the second verse seems almost identical to the first verse – which can be perceived as a somewhat lazy approach to the lyrical component of the song – but it does not detract from the song at all. The chorus is big.
I could use a little more than silence
Just three words that echo in my heart
I could use a little more than silence
Silence is the moon in a lonely sky
While we are excited by Culture Club’s return to the pop music landscape, we believe they may have taken an ultra-safe approach by choosing “More Than Silence” as their lead single. While the band is bound to woo critics for their stylistic reinvention, they may have sacrificed the opportunity to showcase their rejuvenated spunk which manifests itself far better on some of the other tracks form the new album – most notably “Like I used to“. Most artists or bands release the album’s strongest track as its lead single. This is clearly not the case for Culture Club’s “Tribes“. ‘More than silence” should be seen as nothing more than an appetizer since the main course that the album “Tribes” is will represent a sumptuous auditory feast that will make fans and skeptics wonder what took the band so long to get back together.
The new album “Tribes” is slated for release in April 2015 and can be ordered right away via Pledgemusic. Click HERE to order. Until then, here is a full-length clip of Culture Club’s new single “More Than Silence“:
STAR RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars
We are an American internet radio station that broadcasts worldwide. The station features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades. The music of Culture Club & Boy George is a regular staple on Radio Creme Brulee. Currently “More Than Silence” by Culture Club is getting 5 plays a day on our station.
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