Gossip : A Joyful Noise
Gossip are yet to produce a hit that truly comes close to matching the electricity of the single Standing In The Way Of Control. Their fifth release, A Joyful Noise produces no competitors; instead seeing the band continue their descent down the slippery slope into mainstream pop territory. A Joyful Noise isn't a pop crime however – in fact it's quite accessible for any fan of the '80s in the way that it pays homage to Madonna, Kim Wilde and Pat Benatar but the defiant electro dance-punk sound that Gossip burst onto the scene with has now been cast aside. Instead a landscape of repetitive beats and pulsating synths dominated by Ditto's sweet and saccharine voice greets us. The once screaming banshee, now reimagined as a pop diva.
Melody Emergency sees rock guitar meet slow electro groove. It's probably the most raw track on the album and yet it’s slicker and cleaner production wise then anything they've done before. Perfect World is a solid slab of '80s pop, inspiring images of dancing by yourself and unleashing your inner womanly power – flash dance style. Get A Job is a more current day dance number aimed at those who have been putting the party before the practical. It's like your mum decided the best method to get you gainfully employed was to hire Gossip to write a catchy dance track to convince you. Move In the Right Direction hammers home the ‘self empowerment/gonna pull myself together’ theme with the aid of thumping beats; while Casualties Of War spares a thought for all those in love; dropping back on the dance beats and featuring some beautifully clean guitar work, and vocal melodies that recall Kim Wildes’ Cambodia.
A Joyful Noise is littered with the sounds that defined '80s pop but the effects are used sparingly in individual tracks and placed precisely on the album preventing it from becoming an overbearing mess. Gossip have lost anything that was subversive, challenging, or anti-authority about their music, but that doesn't mean they're making bad music. If you're happy to indulge them in their '80s pop obsession, A Joyful Noise could just find a place in your collection as a lounge room dancefloor party-starter.
BY KRYSTAL MAYNARD
Best Track: Casualties Of War
If You Like These, You'll Like This: MADONNA, KIM WILDE, PAT BENATAR
In A Word: Diverging