(Atco 91413)Few bands have ever...


October 19, 1990|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic


AC/DC (Atco 91413)

Few bands have ever developed a sound as unabashedly formulaic as AC/DC's, and fewer still have translated such single-mindedness into an ongoing career. But as "The Razors Edge" makes plain, there's still plenty of mileage left in this band's blend of bone-simple guitar, leather-throated vocals and heads-down rhythm. There might be a few twists this time around -- the chattering guitar hook to "Thunderstruck," for instance -- but nothing that would constitute an actual change in the band's approach. Instead, what makes this album worth cranking up is that it refines the familiar, from the basic boogie of "Shot of Love" to the ominous growl of the title tune.


Vanilla Ice (SBK 95325)

Think of Vanilla Ice as the white M.C. Hammer. Even though there's nothing on Ice's "To the Extreme" that approaches the pneumatic insistence of Hammer's albums, there's a similar sensibility to Ice's catchy, recognizable samples (as on "Play That Funky Music" or "Stop That Train") and hook-oriented arrangements. Too bad Ice also follows the Hammer's lead when it comes to lyrical content, because all his cliched rhymes and empty tough-talk amount to is talking loud and saying nothing. As 3rd Bass would say, "Give this guy the gas face . . ."


Angelo Badalamenti (Warner Bros. 26316)

Why has Angelo Badalamenti's "Soundtrack from Twin Peaks" become such a big hit? It could be that Julee Cruise's flat, emotionless vocals have become an inspiration for young singers who figure that if Cruise can make it, anyone can. Or it could be that Americans are so desperate for a dose of quirky cool that they'll settle for anything, including Badalamenti's windy atmospherics and cool-jazz cliches. But there's absolutely no truth to rumors that if you play "Twin Peaks Theme" backward, you'll learn who killed Laura Palmer.


Caron Wheeler (EMI 93497)

Common as it has become to imitate the Soul II Soul sound, it's hard to begrudge Caron Wheeler's borrowings from Jazzie B and company. After all, it was her voice that made "Keep On Movin'" and "Back to Life" so memorable; why should she have to develop a whole new sound for her solo debut? Even so, her "UK Blak" offers a lot more than just secondhand Soul, despite the bass-heavy pulse of "Livin' In the Light" or the title tune. Whether riding the futuristic hip-hop groove of "Never Lonely" or luxuriating in the acoustic extravagance of "Don't Quit," Wheeler's singing sparkles with the emotional intensity of a true diva.

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