Saturday, May 21, 2016

CD Retro (Fan) Review – Pool It! by The Monkees

Contrary to “popular” and “critical” opinion, The Monkees’ first reunion album is a refreshing, reassuring, and welcome evolution of The Monkees’ classic 1960s sound into the late 1980s.

With a couple of exceptions, the songs are written and performed by other composers and musicians, with Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork providing lead vocals (Michael Nesmith didn’t participate in this reunion but would rejoin his comrades nine years later).

Even though the “boys” are now in their 40s on this recording, they have never sounded better, especially with the hint of maturation in their voices.

The music is basically light synth pop, with Dolenz handling the more upbeat tracks, Jones the more sentimental tunes (and one pop-rocker), and Tork the wacky Cars-like stuff.

While all the songs are enjoyable, the one real standout is the dark and chilling “Midnight” sung by Dolenz. It sounds like something right out of the Miami Vice television series, and it would be a shame if it never played on the show as it would have been perfect for it.

As for the overall musicianship of the backing band, the sprightly guitar work of Mark Christian sounds as slick and high-tech now as it did when I first heard the album as a 14-year-old teenager back in 1987.

If you like The Monkees and 1980s pop music, ignore the naysayers and enjoy the warmth of this nostalgic and contemporary collection that’s full of heart and soul.

--Raj Manoharan

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