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by Dan Gover
"Do you remember all of the joy we found last spring", Easther sang on Eternal's second hit single, "Save Our Love". Well no actually, I don't. Why? Because the group weren't anywhere to be found last spring! And come to think of it, the same goes for the spring before! In fact, the last time they even made a public performance was at "Party In The Park" in 1998 and it was in October 1997 when they made their last UK release.
So what seems to be taking the group so long? The answer is that nobody really knows. Kéllé flew the nest in late 1998, but the remaining two members, sisters Easther and Vernie, still aren't quite sure what's going on themselves. After leaving First Avenue, they are now signed to Big Life Management, who had originally hoped for a Summer '99 release for the girls.
Now though, all plans of this being met have been dashed. In a phone call to the company, the only help they could give would be to contact them again in two months, when they might be able to give some more information.
But Kéllé's departure wasn't the first time Eternal had lost a member. "Always & Forever", the group's debut album, saw Louise Nurding's decission to leave. But this proved not to put an end to their success, with both Eternal and Louise continuing with amazing popularity.
The same cannot, however, be said for this latest departure. Relations between the Bennett sisters and Kéllé were said to have been 'frosty', sometimes they were not even on speaking terms for nearly a year before Kéllé finally left. With the cancellation of the singles "How Many Tears", "Might As Well Be Me" and "Dreams", it can only be presumed that they were never released for the same reason.
And why was the "Greatest Hits" album suddenly released somewhat out of the blue, after the massive success of "I Wanna Be The Only One", which topped the chart in many countries, including the UK, Israel, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany? Maybe the group realised that they were heading for a break-up and released it to put an end to the Eternal story.
But the big question is, will the girls ever release their long-awaited fourth album or will they simply fade away never to be heard again? Whereas Kéllé's album is well underway for a September release, the remaining Eternal members may be lucky to have the album out by 2000. It would be a shame to lose one of the most talented groups in the music industry, but could things really be heading that way?
Perhaps one of the most worrying aspects of Eternal's return is the new line-up. Will things really work as a duo? Over the years we've seen the group halve in numbers, from four, when they began in 1993, to the two they have now, and whereas groups like Alisha's Attic and Wham! have proved that duo's can work, will it really suit Eternal's style of music?
Can we really have a group with a lead singer, a backing singer and no doubt a backing choir too? The answer will almost definitely be a re-design in the format of their songs, giving Easther and Vernie equal lead parts in most of the tracks.
Despite this uncertainty though, both Easther and Vernie have promised a new album as a duo and have recently been recording in the United States with Emilio Estefan, husband of Gloria.
All we can do now is wait and hope that Eternal release another great album one day... someday... soon.
Kéllé Bryan's debut solo album is scheduled for September 1999, while Eternal's fourth album is hoped for a Christmas 1999 release.