Formed about 1980, Missing Persons bounced around the California music scene, cutting a four song album under the ageis of Frank Zappa but without making much of an impression until 1982, when the band released SPRING SESSION M. The album went gold, and with Dale Bozzio's sexy-quirky voice and style the band became a popular television and early video favorite. Even so, Missing Persons was essentially an east-coast/west-coast band, a shade too bizarre for mainstream popularity. The 1984 RHYME AND REASON was a critical success by a commercial flop and the 1986 COLOR IN YOUR LIFE had even less impact. Tensions within the band caused it to dissolve about the same time, and although their have been brief reunions none have been significant. And so Missing Persons has slowly but surely entered the halls of relatively obscurity, a musical memory of the 1980s that fades a bit more with every passing year. Which is a pity.
Not to say that the band ever had a chance of what you might call "top 40" success. Missing Persons has a sound that provokes a love it or hate it reaction, and many people find them an acquired taste at best. But love them, hate them, Missing Person was never less than interesting. As might be expected, the bulk of the cuts on THE BEST OF MISSING PERSONS comes from the 1982 SPRING SESSION M, and the great "loss" on the CD is the failure to include the delicate and beautiful "Surrender Your Heart" from RHYME AND REASON. Even so, BEST OF contains the band's most obvious recordings, and since their recordings are becoming increasingly difficult to find it is very likely the best one can do unless you're a die-hard fan willing to spend hundreds on largely out-of-print material.
Although the band had strong musicianship (both guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and drummer Terry Bozzio have had solid solo careers), Missing Persons is basically "about" singer Dale Bozzio, whose voice is a mixture of the elegantly etherial and the downright peculiar. Her most famous quality, or infamous depending on your point of view, was her "squeek," a sudden high bat-like sound with which she punctuated her vocals. To her credit, Dale Bozzio never over-used it, and when it occurs it is always fun. Everyone has their favorite (and mine is the afore-mentioned "Surrender Your Heart," which is NOT on this recording), but the best-known cut here is "Destination Unknown," with its funky beat and heavy synth matching Dale Bozzio's funky vocal to perfection.
Missing Persons' sound is every bit as unexpected today as it was in the 1980s--and then as now, it won't be to everybody's taste. But if you are looking for something completely different, Missing Persons is all of that. Recommended for those who remember them fondly--and for those who are curious.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer