Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bee Gees - Lamplight

(Polydor, 1973)

Ready for a dull review? Released in Mexico while the band’s snooze-inducing Life in a Tin Can was busy tanking, this is an odds-and-ends EP that plucks love songs from 1967 (“To Love Somebody”), 1969 (“Lamplight”), and 1971 (“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”). The grandiose “Lamplight” is dominated by Robin’s high-pitched warble, with bright-sounding acoustic guitars and syrupy strings underneath. The payoff when the beautiful chorus hits makes it worth a listen, but the song just isn’t that memorable or well-constructed; here, orchestral ambition has made the fellas forget that you need to keep things tight and coherent (a problem on much of the Odessa album from which this is taken). Adult soft-pop is the name of the game on “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” a delicate little wimpfest that might have one of the group’s best melodies ever. Deservedly a big smash, so why not weep to it tonight when you’re all alone? The stylistic hodge-podge continues with a shockingly mature track from the band’s first album, the white-as-fuck soul of “To Love Somebody.” Gold star for Barry, who gives a sassy performance that has more than a whiff of the distinctive vocal style he’d develop in the mid-’70s. Ought to mention as well that Eric Burdon and the Animals recorded a histrionic, seven-minute cover of this one in the late ’60s for their Love Is album. Find it and soak your ears in self-indulgence!

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

Just remember: "Led Zeppelin didn't write songs everyone liked, they let the Bee Gees do that."--Wayne