August 17, 1999
Finetune Records (Nu Groove)
Pop/Rock, Club/Dance

Album Review

Quietly released in the middle of the Culture Club reunion, this collection of demos and more or less completed album tracks is something of a semi-sequel to Boy George's underrated Cheapness and Beauty. Featuring the same main collaborator on that record, guitarist John Themis, Bandit is an enjoyable romp through a variety of fun rockers, some more pointedly tongue in cheek than others. A fair number of them were longtime fan favorites via live performances, with George (and the album title) indicating more collections will yet be in the offing. A glammy echo runs throughout the album, however fractured its origins, while a fine cover (with appropriate lyrical alterations) of Bowie's classic anthem "Suffragette City" becomes the icing on the cake. "In Maya" is quite strong, a passionate combination of George's Hindi spiritual beliefs and his admitted commitment to his lover. Side detours from the main path crop up more than once, most notably on "She Was Never He," a touching tribute to drag queens, with a lovely, flamenco-tinged feeling to it. If Themis isn't the most individual guitarist around, he's still got a good way around tunes and is never anything less than enthusiastic with his performances, while the remainder of the core band keeps things going along quite nicely. Nearly all feature some level of George's playful wit, and, as with Beauty, his liner notes explain the origins of each song with spirit (he concludes talking about the lively duet "Spooky Truth" by saying "I think it would be a great song for Cher"). "G.I. Josephine" starts things with a harmonica-and-bagpipes accompanied mock-military march, ripping into the American military "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals in the service with fire. "Who Killed Rock and Roll" wraps it up with an inspired trashing of end-of-the century music business standards, specifically dear ol' MTV.
Ned Raggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Gi Josephine
  2. Mr. Strange
  3. She Was Never He
  4. Number One
  5. Spooky Truth
  6. In Maya
  7. Vanity Case
  8. Broken Spirit
  9. Suffragette City
  10. Who Killed Rock N Roll