The Bangles: First New Album in Eight Years

The Bangles1

On their forthcoming album, Sweetheart of The Sun, The Bangles capture the two crucial elements that created the bond that formed the group: their common love for rock’s golden age and the crystalline sound they quite naturally created.

Sweetheart of The Sun (Model Music Group), the group’s first album of new material in nearly eight years, is filled with a fresh batch of definitive Bangles songs. Due out September 13, Sweetheart of The Sun reveals The Bangles guitarist/singer Susanna Hoffs, guitarist/singer Vicki Peterson and drummer/singer Debbi Peterson–at their equally beguiling extremes, as soaring folk-rock harmonies coexist with adrenalized rave-ups inspired by the band’s roots in Nuggets-era garage rock.

“As we were finishing the record,” says Vicki, “we started to realize there was a unifying theme–paradise lost in Southern California, the perception juxtaposed with the reality of it.” Susanna picks up the thought: “L.A. is like paradise–the sun shines 360 days a year, the flowers are always in bloom–but meanwhile, so many people are walking around alienated, depressed and anxious.”

Some of the 10 original songs on this 12-song album are new, while others had extremely long gestation periods, tucked away, but not forgotten, as Susanna puts it. The oldest, dating back to the early ’90s, is Debbi’s high-revving aggro kiss-off “Ball N Chain”; while the three of them jointly came up with the newest song, the shimmering opening track “Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun),” during the recording sessions.

“I think it’s important for all of us to keep moving on and creating,” says Debbi. “Because that’s why we got into this in the first place.”

Sweetheart of The Sun was recorded by Matthew Sweet (Susanna’s frequent collaborator) at his home studio in the Hollywood Hills, with much of the overdubbing done at the home studios of Vicki and Susanna, and mixed by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco). The Bangles cut the album with bassist Derrick Anderson and keyboard player Greg “Harpo” Hilfman, both of whom have been playing with the band for some time. String wizard Greg Leisz, one of the most in-demand players in contemporary music (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Matthew Sweet, Lucinda Williams, Bon Iver) adds pedal steel, lap steel and mandolin to a number of tracks.
Thirty years ago guitarists Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson and drummer Debbi Peterson formed THE BANGLES in a Brentwood, California, garage. Their 1984 debut All Over the Place captured the group’s inventive incorporation of ’60s folk rock, sunny SoCal harmonies and Beatles/Byrds/Beach Boys/Big Star godhead. Throughout the 80s, the group went on to dominate the charts with hits like “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Eternal Flame,” “Manic Monday” and “A Hazy Shade of Winter” before they disbanded in the late 80s. They officially reformed in 1999 to record “Get The Girl” for the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.