Review – Close

Like her contemporaries Bananarama, Kim Wilde looked like a three-hit-wonder pin-up who turns out after seven years to be an institution in British pop. This, her sixth album, remains faithful to the sound of the era which first sprung her to prominence. As such a song like You Came sounds like an out-take from Human League’s Dare and therefore somewhat dated stylistically. Yet, like most of Close, it is a sturdy enough construction, spangled with producer Tony Swain’s user-friendly pop hooks and winning details which effectively disguise how second division is the basic songwriting (by Kim, her brother and her dad). In this area, Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven On Earth album is a superior work even though the American is no better a singer than our Kim. That said, Kim beseeches prettily but lacks versatility and vocal charisma. The only really special moment here is a faithful treatment of Todd Rundgren’s “Lucky Guy,” sincerely sung with no change in gender. Chances are, though, that such pleasant, self-penned fare as the Jacko-esque “Love In The Natural Way” is higher up the schedule for single release.
Rating: * * *