on 24 December 2013
The first thing I have to comment on is the quality of this reissue. It is absolutely stunning on all accounts. The hardbound book-like packaging is beautiful and thorough. Yes, the envelopes that hold the discs are not the best but I haven't had much problem with them. The remastering is surprisingly great. I had read an interview with the reissue producer and mastering engineer Tom Parker, and was concerned when he made a comment about the sound being mastered with the iPod generation in mind, though he managed wonderfully to provide louder volume while retaining much of the dynamic range. He should be given a medal. Another fear was unrealized when it turns out the entire set was remastered from original studio master tapes with no shoddy vinyl transfers to be found. Add to that, all of the transfers are beautiful. I don't hear any tape degradation at all. Just full, rich sound. The book contains scans of record sleeves and labels, including international releases. And with a DVD of all of the music videos, as well as a few TV appearances, this set encompasses just about anything anyone could ask for in a deluxe edition.
Now to the music. Bananarama are generally known for their more dancefloor oriented music, but this debut album shows them being a wonderful addition to the colorful character of the New Wave genre. The songs are often catchy or downright infectious. All of the singles from the album ('Shy Boy', 'Cheers Then', 'Really Saying Something', Aie A Mwana', 'Na Na Hey Hey') are still enjoyable 30 years later, while 'Young At Heart' has to be one of the catchiest songs ever written, and is my favorite on the album. The B sides expand the enjoyment with the equally catchy 'Girl About Town' and 'Tell Tale Signs'. The cover of the Sex Pistols' 'No Feelings' is hilariously bouncy. The 12" mixes are often nice extensions or alternate versions, and wonderful to have. Not to mention that this edition goes above and beyond to include not only the U.S. 12" mixes, but the interesting and unexpected U.S. 7" exclusive remixes as well. The DVD shows all the naive charm of the early Bananarama videos. Props made out of paper and magic markers, as well as the early shot-on-videotape appeal of 'Really Saying Something' and 'Na Na Hey Hey' are far better than over-produced choreography numbers.
Bananarama would have a change in sound on their next album, introducing a more serious side. By their third album, they will have embraced their dancefloor appeal, though my interest would fade at that point. By the time they were full stock-aitken-watermen products, I was completely disinterested. But at least there is this one bit of a youthful gem that I'm sure I will enjoy for years to come. And if you have any of the previous editions of this album, discard those and buy this set. It truly is a breathtaking package, and at a phenomenal price.
There's no denying that the Deluxe 2CD + DVD Edition of 'Deep Sea Skiving' is a work of art to thumb through, as well as being a comprehensive collection of early Bananarama material. It's not a very practical design and is, in fact, so fiddly to deal with that I feel justified in sharing with it some of the bluer words that dwell up there in my vocabulary. But it looks nice.
Mind you, I do have my reservations about that cover photo. You'd never guess that these girls were fans of punk rock, would you? It says an awful lot about the fabulous Siobhan that she can still look alluring, even while suspended in mid-air and modelling a Gandalf hat. Poor old Keren looks as though she has used so much hairspray that her entire head is now unable to move and, as for Sara - she wears the sort of relentlessly cheerful expression that is usually the preserve of presenters on QVC. She's obviously got a job-lot of plastic lobsters that need shifting. I missed out on the original 'Deep Sea Skiving' album in 1983, on account of the fact that I had yet to be seized by the hormones. That is to say, I had not yet come to appreciate the unique talents of Sara, Keren and (most especially) Siobhan. Well, not their musical talents anyway. So I was very keen indeed to get my hands on this Deluxe Edition.
It is, literally, an embarrassment of riches. But, unfortunately in my case, they are not the sort of riches that can really grab my attention. As far as these very earliest Bananarama songs are concerned, the ones that are really worthy of note all escaped from their master-tape years ago and have been available as the central component of, much cheaper, Greatest Hits compilations for yonks. Only something like 'What a Shambles', which is criminally overlooked these days and whose lyrics say so very much about the sort of life the ladies were leading at the time (to quote Sara, 'One minute we'd be... hanging out with Andy Warhol in NYC and the next we'd be back in London and down the laundry') might just about enable me to justify this purchase nowadays to my penny-pinching conscience. 'Young At Heart' certainly wouldn't: a brilliantly catchy song in the hands of 'The Bluebells' but, strangely, not very memorable at all when belted out by its Gandalf hat-wearing co-composer and her two former flatmates. Odd.
The trouble is, having paid quite a lot of money for it, I don't think I have ever felt the inclination to get my true money's worth out of 'Deep Sea Skiving'. In other words, I just can't be bothered to ever try to wrestle CD2 and its 'Bonus Tracks' from its tight-fitting cardboard dwelling. For the most part, these bonus tracks amount to various remixes and extended versions of songs you've probably heard twice already on CD 1 before that. As a case in point, 'Aie A Mwana' can be found in no less than six different guises. I am probably one of the dullest men in existence, and yet even I would never be so short of alternative things to do that I would ever want to sit down and listen to all of them.
I do like the fact that the lyrics to the songs are included. Fair enough, they're not quite up to the poetic standards of Sir John Betjeman but that was the whole point about Bananarama - at least in their earliest days. The days that saw them writing their own songs, running their own fan club, sorting out their own costumes, managing their own appearances and being an exciting and unique presence in the charts.
I also like the extensive interview with the girls in the sleeve notes, during which they give their thoughts about each of the songs on the original 'Deep Sea Skiving' album of 1983. It doesn't bode well that Siobhan mentions in those notes (from an interview in 2012) that she hadn't thought about this album in years nor heard any of the songs. Hm... not exactly a ringing endorsement there from one of its co-creators, is it?
The DVD contains four official videos and four appearances that the girls made on the Beeb. They're all memorable, for one reason or another, although the dodgy miming and even dodgier dance moves do make some of these videos almost unbearable to watch. I console myself with the thought that they were having a great time, creating a 'Look' and producing some truly awesome songs along the way: it makes it easier to cope with just how awkward they sometimes seemed, shuffling around on what often genuinely appeared to be six left feet.
My favourite video of all features the girls' appearance on 'Saturday Superstore', miming to 'Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)' in a field and teaching their moves to a collection of schoolchildren. The fact that Siobhan does not seem to be wearing a bra might have something to do with the enjoyment this particular spectacle gives me, I suppose... although I prefer to think it is more to do with my appreciation of one of Bananarama's most memorable tunes.
All in all, I think only devoted fans of the Nanas would get enough out of this product to be able to justify parting with the, not insignificant, cost of it. And I speak as someone who thought he WAS such a person. Quantity does not necessarily equate to quality; or, at least in this case, quantity does not necessarily equate to songs that you will ever feel a burning desire to want to listen to.
the original album was never released on cd at the time..were cds around then! it did get a limited release a couple of times but for along time it has been hard to find!
it a great showcase of early 80s pop! i love it because its what bananarama where all about..great pop tunes that stood the test of time..although vocally not amazing the harmonies are outstanding! it was raw and fresh at the time and not formulated like the albums they did with stock aitken waterman.
the big hits are here "shy boy" "really saying something" "na na na (kiss him goodbye) as well as "cheers then" which flopped - due to being a slow chrstmas feel song and not as chirpy as the previous singles and the first release "aie-a-mwana" which isnt polished but is catchy!
"dr love" is a great pop number which i knew from tracie! - paul youngs pop starlet at the time "young at heart" a cover of the bluebells no.1 hit but which sounds totally different!
although you never venture into celine dion seriousness as any time..every track is perfect pop..its young..its fun and the girls can show girls aloud ect how to do it..and they write a lot of their own songs!
a perfect summer album no matter how old or young you are!
on 31 May 2009
Deep Sea Skiving was the ram's first long-player, a grungy sounding pop album that introuced the world to Keren, Sara, and Siobhan, and their odd layered vocal sound.
The album kicks off with the incredibly catchy and sexy Shy Boy, a gorgeous song full off "Shoop-shoop-ahhs", and is the girls at their flirtatious best. Doctor Love, although initially fun, gets boring very quickly, and is a good contender for worst song on the album, and I'm not sure whether its position as 2nd track on the album was a good idea. What a Shambles is lyrically my favourite track on the album, whats not to love in a song that's chorus revolves around "Washing all your Laundry, and Riding on a Bus" . Next up is the Fun Boy Three collaboration Really Saying Something, this is the 'rams at their dirtiest and grubbiest, there's not much I can say about this song, as its one of their big iconic tracks, unfortunately, the 'rams other FB3 collaboration - It Aint What You Do doesn't make an appearance here, very dissapointingly even the remastered release fails to include it as a bonus track. Cheers Then is the most melancholy track on the album, but it is also one of the stronger tracks, as the girls lament on a relationship that has come to an end. We are then presented with Aie-a-Mwana, quite simply put, an insane Swahili dance number! Its a great, fun, track, but sticks out on the album like a sore thumb. Especially odd as the aforementioned omition of It Aint What You Do, which would have been much more at home on the album. Keeping the tone firmly upbeat, the 'rams then sing about being Young at Heart, a feel good song that bounces along, and would later see widespread success when The Bluebells covered it. The next 3 tracks are the 'rams with attitude: Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye), the perfect break up song, when you just want to stamp your feet and shout at that loser of an ex ; the forgettable Hey Young London, and the truly brilliant Boy Trouble, which is the only other track to manage the sex-appeal and flirtatiousness of the opening track. The album closes with the stunning Wish You Were Here, the first time melancholy creeps back in since Cheers Then, where as the previous track had been acknowledgement at the end of a relationship without being too bothered about it, Wish You Were Here sees the 'rams pining for times gone, and wishing for the return of an ex (lover? friend?), and proves a satisfying conclusion to the album.
All in all, it's not my favourite Bananrama album by any long shot, but overall I think it'd a strong debut from the girls
on 29 January 2014
The ultimate re-issue of the first album. Recommended for all Nanas devoted fans. Everything is here. Mastering is decent and I don't believe there will ever be another release as complete and well-designed as this one, so go ahead and grab it!
on 21 March 2007
This debut album from Bananarama marks the starting point for collectors of perhaps the most enduring and best loved girl group of all time. Having been affectionately remastered and expanded to include rare, and hitherto difficult-to-impossible to find B-sides, Bananarama fans are being spoiled with this series. And about time too!
"Deep Sea Skiving" is a somewhat uneven affair at times, and there were infinitely more consistent studio albums to come, but one can't help but adore it in spite of its occasional rambles and bizarre mis-steps. Those singles - even the less successful ones like "Cheers Then" - still sound glorious, as does the original "Young At Heart" which went on to be re-recorded as a smash hit (and eventual #1) by The Bluebells.
From these enjoyably humble and occasionally shambolic beginnings one of the greatest pop acts of our time emerged, making this album a key component in contemporary musical history.
on 7 March 2011
This was Bananaramas long awaited debut album released in early 1983 after the trio of Sarah Dallin,Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey had been a pressence on the UK music scene and charts for almost a year,making their commercial breakthrough singing with the Fun Boy Three on Aint What You Do.Having gone on to release their own singles on London Records the inevitable debut album was just around the corner.Several songs on this set are credited as being written by the girls themselves alone and as legend has it the penniless trio wrote some of these whilst penniless in their London council flat.This album really stands up the test of time,especially in the aftermath of the eighties revival,for some of the best ideas in pop/dance,post punk and new wave can be heard on this rather innocent but bouncy debut.Aie A Mwana is an important single from the group,it wa stheir first ever release in September 1981 and manages to fit in with the other earthy DIY pop here,though being sung entirely in Swahili does give it a slight edge.The song was a cover of a track by a dance group named Black Blood and revived by the Nanas as a girl group anthem.Though this being an indie single it didn,t even dent the charts but still earned the trio a following on the club scene and a tiny article with a pic appeared in The Face magazine,a style bible of what was hip and happening in music and fashion.It was this picture and the song which brought the group to the attention of Terry Hall of Fun Boy Three and the rest is history!The album also contains their hit cover of the Velvelettes Really Saying Something which was reinterpreted as a cool urban sounding raw pop number with a detatched sounding vocal from the girls which [especially on this album]would become their hallmark.A gutsy cover of the anthemic Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye would also emerge a triumphant top 5 hit after the self penned Cheers Then failed to make a huge splash on the charts,in actual fact Cheers Then is possibly one of the more interesting tracks here.A moody yet sentimental mid tempo ballad with an Abba ish euro feel and high pitched vocal it talks of sentimentality and past times.Similary Wish You Here is sombre yet sweet ballad which ends the set.Boy Trouble,Hey Young London and What A Shambles are laden with the sullen attitude driven approach that the trio were also renowned for amongst fans whilst Doctor Love a track written by Paul Weller has hallmarks of electroclash and power pop.Shy Boy a motown flavored pop number written for them by producers Jolley and Swain is an all out out girl group anthem Bananarama style and as with Na Na Hey Hey and Really Saying Something another top 5 hit from this set.This 2007 includes b sides Girl About Town,Tell Tale Signs and Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares,a rare Sex Pistols cover No Feelings and the Japanese Honda ad theme Hes Got Tact a sweet poppy song which sounds like a TV ad jingle and which is a bit of harmless fun.In short the origins of a girl group who would achieve tremendous success throughout the decade.Earthy,fun,raw and catchy pop!
on 29 November 2013
They may dismiss this album as naive or rushed or we didn't know what we were doing and the lyrics are like nursery rhymes but Deep Sea Skiving is a classic 80's album from start to finish and captures the shambolic we don't care attitude of Bananarama that was often misunderstood. All their first hits (apart from It Ain't What Ya Do) are there with alternative US remix versions in crystal clear form with lots of B-sides rarities and great extra tracks. The DVD DOES show however though that those early promos were probably not their most polished work but they are of the time. 'Hey Young London' is a stand out track for me and could be just as relevant now as it was 30 years ago
on 17 June 2014
Packaging is a nightmare!Purchased all 6 deluxe editions,and was prepared for scratches ,its done in CD pockets,but I wasn't prepared for melted glue and paper on the discs!Unacceptable,so be prepared for a few returns to get a decent set,and getting them out,especially the glued in ones,is no walk in the park,I'd advise buying cases for them,hope this helped save someone else the headache!😃
on 5 September 2009
Madonna confessed she used to dance to this in her Ballet class, as an aspiring dancer she would put on Bananarama and funk it up, later requesting them in the clubs where she socialised in downtown New York. This album is a timeless listen and one of there best efforts.