Boomkat Product Review:
Out of the blue, cult German new wave act Saåda Bonaire present a lost and rediscovered album of their second-wind recordings, made in a sex shop owned by their guitarist’s family - only in Germany, right?
Creators of one of the sexiest records of the decade with their Dennis Bovell-produced debut 12” in 1984, Saåda Bonaire famously fell foul of major label politics and by 1985 their singer Claudia Hossfeld had left the band, followed in 1985 by its other singer Stephanie Lange in the wake of her break-up with co-founder Ralph “von” Richthoven. However, time heals and the new wave of dance music from UK and US at the turn of the ‘90s prompted them back to the studio, with Richthoven rejoined by Lange, as well as many of the Turkish-Kurdish musicians from the original sessions, plus new vocalist Andrea Ebert, North Irish folk singer Paul Lindsay, and, perhaps most pivotally, jazz guitarist Mike Ellington, who gave the band a place to record at his family’s sex shop in Bremen. Long thought lost, those recordings recently surfaced on a tape marked ’Saåda Bonaire 1991’, and are now inches away from your grubby mitts.
Despite the lack of Dennis Bovell’s expert hand at the rudder, ‘1992’ sees the band capably adapt to the new wave of dance music, straddling contemporary house and soul, trip hop, new jack swing, Eastern influences and acid jazz with the same grown-up poise and charm that made their earlier work so vital. While it does bear thinking what they could have sounded like with Dennis Bovell back in the fold, the dozen songs still trade in equal measures of debonaire elegance and ‘90s sleaze comparable with Janet Jackson as much as Leslie Winer and Soul II Soul.
A couple of strong covers set out their stall with a sultry soul spin on James Brown’s ‘Woman’ beside the Arabic percussion-inflections and organismic whimpers in their flip of Stevie Wonder & Syreeta Wright’s ‘To Know You Is To Love You’, while fans of early ‘90s raunch will gets theirs everywhere between the hard-to-resist swang of ‘So Many Dreams’ with its Kurdish flutes, plus the strong Wild Bunch views on ‘That’s Right’, and echoes of NYC and South African deep house strut in ‘Lovelife’, while the upbeat bustle of ‘Your Prince’ sounds like a German M-People, and the deeper drive of ‘7th House’ slinks closer to dream house territory, while ‘Move From The Heart’ could almost be a Mousse-T prototype. Ultimately, if you were expecting a reprise of their eponymous 2013 comp, you may be left wanting, but anyone with an eye on ‘90s halcyon years will be in their element.