Review – Here come the aliens

Keeping it in the family is how the Wildes roll.

Since the 80s when a 21-year-old Kim exploded into our lives with Kids In America, Britain’s biggest female pop star of the decade has always turned to her brother Ricky for production values. This is her first new album of original material to have a UK release since way back in 1992. A lot has been going on in the meantime, but now, though, she has something to say to us specifically. And it is based on a close encounter she says she experienced in her back garden in 2009.

Firstly, that beautiful artwork. Referencing the great sci-fi film posters of the 50s and 60s, it again holds a family connection as her niece Scarlett, also a singer with her band, created it for her. It’s mesmerising, a real treat for film buffs and music aficionados alike. And, luckily, it holds another treat inside. Disco, new wave, electro and glam rock all get an outing here, and spread throughout the record are also a sweet collection of popular culture Easter eggs. From the sound Pac-Man makes when dying in opener 1969 to the kind of jangling guitars that made the Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers smash-hit Get Lucky so popular in Yours Til The End. They’re hidden throughout. We cross over from 80s camp to Gwen Stefani’s rock chick persona when she first left No Doubt and went her own way.

Birthday is a classic rock stomp through sharp electronics and growling guitars that is a lot of fun when the chorus kicks in. It’s the album’s probable highlight, raucous from start to finish. Kandy Krush is an electro delight too, with the swishing bips and bops intersecting the guitars every way they turn. Like a siren it heeds a real warning in the interludes. Then there is that track Yours Til The End. That chorus really peaks on the euphoria charts, a true sing-along live.

Her voice sounds great throughout. Whether duetting with her brother on Pop Don’t Stop or with Swede Frida Sundemo on Rosetta, she is in control and steering this party boat her way. It’s a slice of retro we should all have in our lives as we enter spring with hope of a good 2018.

Rating: 8/10