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Album Review

By the time the Pointer Sisters unleashed their 1983 Break Out LP, they had racked up six Top Ten singles spread between the pop and R&B charts. Break Out would prove to be their new wave breakthrough, peppering both charts with five further songs — half the album — while the LP itself spent over a year on the charts. Astute performers, the Pointer Sisters had embraced the 1980s' penchant for synthesized sonics wholeheartedly and used them to fine effect across songs that were upbeat and slick, space-age dance grooves that brought a new dimension to the trio's sound. Both "Jump (For My Love)" and "Automatic" were massive hits during early 1984, as both injected the sisters' trademark harmonies with fresh grooves that culminated in an appealing blend of old and new. "Neutron Dance," meanwhile, with Ruth Pointer's rich lead vocal laying over an extraordinarily snappy and nearly frenetic melody, did double duty, also featuring in the film Beverly Hills Cop. Using those three songs as a springboard, Break Out powers on through one groover after another with few surprises, although "Dance Electric" combines a synthesizer straight out Human League territory with a blistering guitar solo and "Easy Persuasion" emerges as a smoky ballad of sorts. Although Break Out is a far cry from the Pointer Sisters' earliest intentions, it still charms and pleases. It's a vital part of the early-'80s tapestry, a sonic signpost for the ultimate feel-good generation.

Biography

Formed: 1971 in Oakland, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Pointer Sisters were as chameleonic as David Bowie, if not more so. The sibling group backed Grace Slick and Boz Scaggs, made stops at Sesame Street and the Grand Ole Opry, won a country Grammy, and appeared in the movie Car Wash, all before scoring four consecutive Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 hits in the mid-‘80s. From their early ‘70s releases on Blue Thumb through their ‘80s commercial run on Planet and RCA, the Pointers moved through boogie-woogie, bebop, blues, country, funk, disco, soft rock,...
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