Following hard on their self-titled album, True Confessions still found Keren Woodward, Siobhan Fahey, and Sarah Dallin sticking with producers Mike Jolley and Tony Swain, with the notable exception of two songs, one of which would break them into the US in a big way, even more than their earlier hit "Cruel Summer." There are a few surprises on this album, including their tackling jazz and rap.
The title track sports a bass rhythm synth and drum machine and the instrumentation seems smoother and richer, although with a reduced tempo compared to adrenalized burst of their Deep Sea Skiving songs. With string-synths and other keyboards slightly reminiscent of Eurythmics, "Ready Or Not" seem to drown out the girls' harmonies in this mid-paced dance number.
With a weird swirling keyboards opening, followed by a sax, the drum-machine backed ballad "Trick Of The Night" was the Rams' third single here on the night life, focusing on a lady's man who has a different life. "but the wind comes through you try to sell your soul/everyway you go it's a long way/now you're no longer just the boy next door/when they were falling in love with that clean cut smart change of style/just for a lttle while." When I first heard it, I questioned its validity as a single. Now, I think it's one of their best.
"Dance With A Stranger" is another low-key delight that missing link between light Brit-pop and samba or easy jazz, what with the piano, vibes and percussion. The lush string synths kick in during the chorus: "before we kiss the world goodbye (it's only a breath away)/one more dance before you die (so tender as the music plays)/there's no emotion only passion in your cry/love is the last thing on your mind when you dance with a stranger." And this verse vividly adds to this portrait of loneliness on a dance floor. "the spinning room the cold caress/I try to hide my loneliness/cheek to cheek we let the evening drift by/the hollow mask has disappeared/we drown our love through salty tears/the state of night is like a racing car/ I now see you for what you really are." The sax solo that comes in really adds to the jazz flavour of this standout cut.
The spoken word intro spells out the grim tone of the low-key dance song "Love is easy. No complications, in a perfect world" However, the cold hopelessness of the world make sit far from perfect: "His heart is willing/but the world's so cold/oh, how he longs for someone real to hold." The Rams have it down when they sing "All we need is understanding/love is easy/maybe tomorrow we'll try again (no complications)/in a perfect world."
With their infectious cover of The Shocking Blue's "Venus", the Rams dip their toes in the Stock-Aitken-Waterman ocean they would be swimming in with their Wow album. A deservedly #1 hit in the US, with the jangly guitar, bopping drum machine, and Mike Stock's keyboards. This is the most danceable hit for the Rams, until equally body-slammers such as "Love In The First Degree" and "I Want You Back" from Wow, came along.
"Do Not Disturb" is nice danceable fun about a weekend for two spent alone that turns cloudy when the girl turns up alone. Could've been a single. "A Cut Above The Rest" is slowed filler, while "Promised Land" is passable dance fare.
The second Stock-Aitken-Waterman song here, "More Than Physical" flopped Stateside, but this second single wasn't all that bad even though it's a comedown compared to "Venus."
The sermonizing anti-drug "Hooked On Love" features rapped verses and sung choruses. From a twelve-year old sucking on butane gas to a girl found in a pool of blood, the Rams say there's a better drug.
The trio would sign on with S-A-W for their next album (Exit Swain and Jolley) which would yield seven singles, including two that became dance chart 12" mixes. WOW! With the exception of the lesser tracks, True Confessions show the Rams evolving in their sound, showing their aptitude in doing lower-key tracks.