Long before last year’s “Who Do You Think Of?” gave them a Top 20 hit, UK girl group M.O have been adamant about two things: that existing alongside Danish singer MØ isn’t confusing for casual listeners, and that throwbacks to late 90’s/early 00’s R&B are in vogue.
Follow-up “Not In Love” has a dancehall flavour, and could’ve been an awkward single choice for the winter season. Wisely, clanking keys, skittering drum machines, and an ear-splitting chorus offset the warmth – so while the song is still danceable, it’s more of a vocal showcase than a toe-tapper.
Admittedly, this isn’t an excellent example of M.O’s angelic harmonies, and Nadine’s Melodyned hook occasionally clashes with the carefree arrangement. Although “Not In Love” and its lamé-hued video don’t do anything new, these girls still sing with a vigour that’s worthy of their influences.
“Oh, don’t look back.
Don’t look behind you.
Reckless driving on
dirty back road…”
Best known for camp classics “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster”, The B52s’ early deep cuts could seem greyscale in comparison. “Dirty Back Road” won’t ignite any conga lines at the office party, yet this humid post-punk tribute to unprotected anal sex is one hell of a ride.
Looming over the saucy vehicular entendres is the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson from AIDS in 1985. Poignantly, his sister Cindy and Kate Pierson pickle the hedonism of the early 80’s in melodic harmonies that still smack like tequila on the tongue.
The song’s single verse-bridge-chorus structure gets two outings, fading in and out with the rumblings of roadside fauna. Far from laziness, this looping arrangement allows Ricky Wilson’s freewheeling spirit to live on, taking the listener on an endless journey to satisfaction.