Slash And Burn: The Best of BoDeans
London / Slash / Rhino
We probably didn’t realize it then — and if all you do is go by the K-Tel compilations of the era, you’d never know — but we were blessed with some rather rockin’ music in the 1980s. For every MTV/radio bit of tripe hair metal band or British twee pop, you had your Replacements, Long Ryders, Jason and the Scorchers, and these guys, BoDeans. Now nobody is gonna call these pop tunesmiths the equal of the ‘Mats, but one could certainly do worse. Their debut album, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams from 1986, contained what might have been their finest moment, the aching “She’s A Runaway.” Although more people might remember “Closer To Free” because of its use on Party Of Five, it’s their early stuff that sounds best, 20 years past. Sammy Llanas’ voice has always spanned the years with its unique timbre, one foot planted firmly in American roots rock, the other somewhere further south. This collection captures most of their best moments, and except for some of the regrettable ’80s-required “big drums,” it all hangs together well, particularly moments such as “The Ballad of Jenny Rae” or “Fadeaway.” Good to own when somebody pulls out that Wham! record and you don’t have a pistol handy.