Angela King witnesses the return of the mighty Bananarama...
Bananarama are back! Their new single Move in my Direction is due to be released on July 18. It's being tipped by their record company as the duo's strongest material yet, but just how convincing is their return?
Ask anyone what first springs to mind when you hear the name Bananarama, and the reply will likely be the 80s, pop and quiffed hair. They really were the archetype of pop music from that era, winning a mention in the Guinness Book of Records for being Britain's most charted female group.
The band was formed in 1980 as a trio comprising of lifelong friends Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin, along with token weirdo Siobhan Fahey.
The girls got their break in 1989 after singing at friends' parties and nightclubs, when they came to the attention of ex-Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook. He produced Bananarama's first single, Aie A Mwana, a cover version sung entirely in Swahili.
The group then went on to back The Fun Boy Three on the single It Ain't What You Do It's The Way You Do It, while the fey Three returned the favour for 1982's He Was Really Saying Somethin'.
While their initial hits, including Shy Boy, Na Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye and Cruel Summer were happy, fun pop music, the success of 1984's rape-themed Robert DeNiro's Waiting promoted the group to tackle more serious themes.
However, the follow-up single, Rough Justice, a song protesting about the political tensions in Northern Ireland at the time, bombed and the girl's career stalled.
In 1986 the group joined forces with the production team of Stock/Aitken/Waterman, who produced the album Wow!. It was to be the group's most successful album to date, including international chart topper Venus.
1988, Siobhan Fahey left the band when she married Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, and went on to forge her own musical career as part of successful band Shakespeare's Sister.
Meanwhile, Bananarama recruited Jacquie O'Sullivan to fill the void, and the trio continued to have chart success.
However, the new union was short lived and in 1991 O'Sullivan left the band in order to pursue a solo career.
Recently the girls' music unexpectedly burst back onto the scene when a bootleg remix of their 1980's classic Really Saying Something emerged.
The bootleg, called Solasso v Bananarama went straight in at number 7 in the Music Week Upfront Club Chart, moving up to number 3 in subsequent weeks, and showed that there was life still in their music.
Move In My Direction will be the deciding factor in their rollercoaster career. The track itself is satisfactory, but hardly jumps out and says 'Wow!', nevertheless the house style is sure to go down a storm in the fun bars across the country.
While many comebacks crash and burn you only have to look at Kylie's burst back into the charts with Spinning Around, and her subsequent success to see that it is possible to come back bigger and better than ever.
The single will be available on two CDs and 7 inch vinyl, each release including various remixes.