Transvision Vamp

  • Transvision Vamp
  • Pop Art (Uni) 1988 
  • Velveteen (MCA) 1989 
  • Little Magnets vs. the Bubble of Babble (MCA) 1991 

Anyone harboring the illusion that American teenagers have worse taste than their British counterparts have only to note that this pathetic glam-pop band reached the UK Top 5 with its first album and topped the charts there with its second. The less offensive of the two, Pop Art is a flimsy but tuneful put-up job built around singer Wendy James’ weak voice and petulant pout. Besides a lame rendition of Holly Vincent’s “Tell That Girl to Shut Up,” the quintet makes a charmlessly selfconscious stab at rockabilly (Sigue Sigue style), attempts to ape T. Rex, Blondie and the Primitives and generally does some of the things worthless bands with no imagination are known for.

Again jointly produced by Duncan Bridgeman and Zeus B. Held, Velveteen — which announces itself as “Born to Be Sold” — sheds any pretense of pop innocence and relies on crude-sounding programmed keyboards and deeply unoriginal music. (In the most obvious instance, “Baby I Don’t Care” is “Hang on Sloopy” with different words.) James’ dissolute voice is already shot to hell, and the album should be an embarrassment to all concerned.

[Ira Robbins]