Dark Sneak Love Action

Tom Tom Club

Sire, 1992

http://www.tomtomclub.net/

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/25/2009

As Tom Tom Club’s sole release from the ‘90s, Dark Sneak Love Action is a definite improvement over Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom, but that’s not saying much. The material is as lightweight as ever, the music is still repetitive and the lyrics are on the thin side yet again. It’s adorable stuff for sure, though nothing here lends itself to a long shelf life.

Having said that, there are some new twists with accordions (“Irresistible Party Dip”) and bagpipes (“Daddy Come Home”), as well as some cartoon-quality turns (“Innocent Sex Kiss”) that bring back the fun that Tom Tom Club has become known for. For her part, Tina Weymouth handles the vocal duties well, going from twisted on the hypnotic opener “Love Wave” to singing several verses in French on “Say I Am.” She still slips into familiar staccato territory on many tracks (especially “Who Wants To Be An Ugly Girl”), though for the most part her performance is toned down throughout the bulk of the album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

You can pretty much divide the album equally between the good cuts and the so-so ones. While there aren’t any truly embarrassing moments to be found on DSLA, there really aren’t any truly memorable ones either. They seem to be playing it safe on this release, with a few all-too-brief surprises thrown in here and there. This is one of those records that take some patience for the rewards to become evident. There’s an unexpected tempo change brought about by a cool instrumental break in “Innocent Sex Kiss” and the sound of a soda bottle being opened and poured into a glass on “Irresistible Party Dip,” not to mention a terrific updating of the Hot Chocolate hit “You Sexy Thing.”

Film composer Danny Elfman would undoubtedly be proud of the job Tom Tom Club has done with “Dogs In The Trash,” mainly because it sounds exactly like something from the score he created for Ed Wood. With its spooky effects, it would be a great song to play on Halloween. And part of the charm of a song like “Sunshine And Ecstasy” is hearing the spoken bits that have been thrown into this instrumental piece for good measure.

For every inconsequential filler number like “My Mama Told Me,” there is a treasure to be found like the title track, which has a great sound and some solid production. Clearly, the band didn’t yet have their sea legs under them from a production standpoint, or else every song on this album would have been equally as strong. Since they chose some tracks over others to put more work and effort into, there’s no real connecting thread that holds the listener’s attention throughout the album’s duration. This uneven and unfinished quality is what keeps records of this ilk from garnering more critical support. It certainly keeps fans from wanting to hear more, which explains why Tom Tom Club’s days were so numbered in 1992.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2009 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sire, and is used for informational purposes only.