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Bitter:Sweet

Drama

(Quango; US: 3 Jun 2008; UK: Available as import)

LA’s Bitter:Sweet would have made the perfect house band for the James Bond franchise in its Moore-Dalton-Brosnan years. Brassy, modern, melodramatic, and erotic without being dirty, their brand of trip-hop begs for a vintage Bond opening sequence. Alas, they’ll have to settle for TV’s Lipstick Jungle, for which “The Bomb” serves as the theme song. “The Bomb” also happens to be the best track on this, the coed duo’s sophomore album. Kiran Shahani’s slinky groove and Shana Halligan’s come-hither vocals, replete with convincingly orgasmic yelps, hit the sweet spot between the camp and the carnal. The rest of Drama marks an improvement over debut The Mating Game, thanks to Halligan’s newfound confidence as a vocalist and Shahani’s sharpening his arrangements, at times fleshing them out with a full orchestra. That doesn’t stop some of Drama from being over-the-top throwaway, but it does lend the likes of “Sugar Mama” a sweet, showtune-like magic.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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