If you’ve got a hankering for some funk-fortified sleaze, Bang Tango’s Psycho Café should scratch that itch. By the time 1989 rolled around, the sheer volume of hair bands filling out major label rosters was simply too much to digest. In the end, the over saturation helped sink the entire genre in the early nineties. The sea change was so swift and so devastating that by 1995 you would be hard pressed to hear anything from the hair era on mainstream rock radio. (It was really sad that the baby was thrown out with the bath water when “alternative” rock became the soup de jour. Why couldn’t they both coexist?) Anyway, many a great “hair” album came out in 1989. Most of my favorites from 1989 are the lesser known ones. Albums that were modest hits at best (or complete flops). Due to the high quantity of albums released, one can certainly understand why most never caught on — including some outstanding releases. Bang Tango’s Psycho Café is one of my many faves from ’89.
With groove-tastic bass lines and playful guitars, the pretty boys of Bang Tango gave us a fun, loose record that still sounds great blaring from the car stereo. It is a record that shows the band’s personality, and predilection for obtuse sleaze. Producer Howard Benson did a fine job by restraining himself from diluting the band’s edgy, lively sound. Take for example the performance of vocalist Joe Leste on the acoustic ballad Just For You. Certainly most producers would have been inclined to ask Leste to tone down his odd vocal stylings on this tune, but Benson wisely let Leste do his thing — making Just For You oddly endearing. Also notice how Just For You lacks the usual bells and whistles of the prototypical eighties power ballad. No drums, no keyboards, no orchestration, no electric guitar solo. The song exists solely on a few acoustic guitars and Leste’s shrieky vocals.
Other kick-ass tunes include Attack Of Life, Someone Like You, and… well, pretty much every tune is worth listening to. Solid album! My score: A-