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Various artists: Basement Beehive

Various artists: Basement Beehive

Various artists: Basement Beehive
January 01
04:16 2019

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The term “ girl group” dates back to before The Beatles (“boy band” was not coined until the 1980s). The heyday of these all-women troupes was in the early 1960s, during the interregnum between rock and roll and the British Invasion. They were mostly young, not far removed from their fans. It was as though pop’s female audiences had dreamt themselves into a new life on stage after growing dissatisfied with their role as spectators.

Basement Beehive is a 56-track collection of the lesser known acts that emerged during the girl group boom, following in the immaculately choreographed footsteps of The Ronettes and The Shirelles. The acts have interchangeable names (The Passionetts, The Devilettes, The Vandelettes) and traffic in the same romantic fare — falling in love, falling out of love, chasing boys, being chased by boys, all set to the sound of swaying doo-wop and brisk R&B.

The sameness extends to their quality, which is almost uniformly high. Arrangements resemble vibrantly raw versions of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” style; there are hints, in the more rough and ready moments, of the teen garage rock acts that would follow later in the decade. These relics of a long-vanished but still influential musical era deserve to have the dust blown off them.

★★★★☆

Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground’ is released by Numero

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