Review – Close

Would you let your brother go out with her?
There she smoulders, eyes heavy-lidded (with exhaustion, no doubt, the consequence of fending off this week’s bevy of ardent Romeos), lips parted in ruinous invitation. “Come hither, big fellow”, her picture whispers. God knows what would happen if you did. The photos emanate sulking B-movie lust and potential heartache for the suitor who becomes enmeshed in her charms. Two seductive reasons to immerse yourself.
Kim sings, too, but that’s always the least consequential factor of the conflict that ranges listlessly ‘tween indie people and us shameless-hussy pop kids. We groove to her for all the reasons 4AD types thinks she sucks and, believe me, the merits of “Kids in America”, or whatever it was, never enter the debate. Consider it: when has a Kim Wilde critique ever dwelled extensively on the music?
Kim herself surely chafes in frustration at such cavalier treatment of her work. In the case of her last album, which was a little humdinger, her attitude is eminently justifiable. “Close” is another story.
Aforesaid last LP, “Another step”, an epochal set of melodramatic Sixties-inspired beat ballads, wasn’t a chart-topper. “Close” – in which Kim goes SAW (Stock Aitken & Waterman – MR), is meant to sort out the sales figures by making for the dancefloor and blending in with Rick (Astley – MR), Bananarama and the gang. SAW don’t actually have anything to do with this record – couldn’t fit it into their schedule, i suppose – but producers Tony Swain and Ricki Wilde offer a highly-credible impersonation of the most evil trio in pop.
Many songs here could be Bananarama “Wow!” tracks with Kim’s voice superimposed. Not so bad if you happen to like “Wow!” (I do), but SAWbeat is growing tedious through familiarity. Its success depends on the presence of snappy hooklines, anyway; “Hey Mr Heartache” certainly possesses that, and more – it’s classic teen angst – but so much else here is the all-Eighties, modern floor-filler that’s come to redefine pop dance-music.
Still, Kim should worry. All she’s got to concern herself with at the moment is steering clear of Bubbles’ litter box.