They were created by music impresario Malcolm McLauren, he who also created the Sex Pistols and managed/advised groups like the Slits and New York Dolls, crafted Bow Wow Wow in 1980 after several members of the Ants left Adam Ant behind. He found a then-teenaged Annabella Lwin singing at a dry cleaners she worked at part-time and auditioned her as the group’s lead singer. The rest is New Wave history. Well, minor history. Bow Wow Wow had a few hits, but they’re mostly known for their cover of the Strangeloves’ garage rock classic “I Want Candy.”
They were a novelty, sure, but they performed their surf-punk ditties with a world beat swagger. Lwin was never much of a singer, but what she lacked in technique she made up for in push power and a certain ability to alternate between camp princess and girlish squeal. Look at how she does a mean punk sneer on debut single “C30, C60, C90, Go” then practically sticks her tongue in both cheeks at the same time to deliver the brazen “Louis Quatorze” later on. In-between the boys pound away at a furious pace that only pauses long enough for Lwin to encourage us to join the “Mile High Club.” Wait, isn’t she underage here?
Adolescent sexual fantasies are kept to a minimum, but there’s lots of big hooks, bit beats, and aggressive posing to keep things from being too icky. We Are the 80s distills a brief career down to the essentials and clocks in at a brisk 44 minutes. Not too bad for a band that only lasted three years and whose best albums was already a compilation, 1982’s I Want Candy.
DOWNLOAD: “C30, C60, C90, Go”