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SAVAGE PROGRESS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Celebration (UK 10 / Virgin) 1984

Led by bassist/songwriter Rik Kenton — one of the two bassists on the first Roxy Music album over a decade earlier — Savage Progress plays dance-rock with much the same loose and funky feel as the Thompson Twins. The quartet incorporates glints of various Third World musics, adding character to the otherwise plain melodies and banal lyrics. Vocalist Glynnis sings like a member of Bananarama; the band (whose lineup fields bass, keyboards and percussion) is facile and flexible, making easy transitions from the calypso of "Falling" to the eerie Arabia of "My Soul Unwraps Tonight" to the Bow Wow Wow-styled "Heart Begin to Beat." By not allowing themselves to become too involved in any of these flavors, Savage Progress remains light and likable, but they will need stronger songs to keep from being just a well-produced shell of appealing styles.

[Ira Robbins]