Matt Bianco: Indigo (Deluxe Edition) (Cherry Pop)

For British pop band Matt Bianco, it was thought that the third time would indeed be the charm. Their first album, Whose Side Are You On, was warmly received, although the initial band split when vocalist Basia went solo. The group’s return with the self-titled second album interestingly was bolstered both by the success of their former singer and a newfound sense of purpose. With the overwhelming European success of their second album, Matt Bianco’s record label thought America was ready for the band. Thus, third album Indigo was given a decisively American production, and this massive three disc reissue documents the effort to break the band in the states.

It’s not hard to understand why Matt Bianco would want to take on America. Basia’s superb debut album, Time and Tide, had been released the year before and had been an unexpected success––a number one album on the jazz charts, that produced a top five adult contemporary single, it would go platinum by the end of the year. Furthermore,  Latin pop had started to cross over into the American mainstream, thanks to the success of Miami Sound Machine and their lead singer, Gloria Estefan. To that end, Matt Bianco hired her producer/husband Emilio to help arrange and   craft two of their singles, ”Don’t Blame It On That Girl” and “Good Times,” both fine examples of Latin pop, even if they didn’t quite connect as anticipated. Instead, it was  “Wap Bam Boogie,” the flip side to ”Don’t Blame It On That Girl,” that really connected with audiences and DJs.

While Emilio Estefan may have only produced two tracks, the Latin influence is in full force,  as the rest of Indigo was no slouch. While the album generally had an upbeat dance vibe thanks to the exciting electricity of ”R&B,” “Indigo,” and “Nervous,” on songs “Say It’s Not Too Late” and ”Hanging On,” Matt Bianco slowed down the tempo and turned in some fine romantic numbers. Indigo wasn’t an album of restraint, but of groove, and this deluxe reissue prove that point; over two discs one is given 30 remixes and alternate versions of the album, showing that Matt Bianco and record label WEA were quite determined in breaking the band.

Instead, this would be the band’s watershed moment,  and though they would not reach these heights again, they would continue on,  releasing albums every few years and even reuniting what former lead singer Basia.  The only complaint to be had with this deluxe reissue is that a good portion of the material sounds terribly dated, with a style that instantly recalls the late 1980s.  Still, Indigo was a fine album and a noble attempt by a very talented group to cross over to a wider audience.


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