Faith No More
If what you know about Faith No More extends no further than hits like "Epic" or "Falling to Pieces," odds are that "Angel Dust," the group's third and latest album, will come as something of a shock. Sure, the album has its share of pop smarts, and does a nice job of selling the metallic majesty of "Everything's Ruined" or the rap-edged momentum of "Be Aggressive." But it's also full of all kinds of instrumental weirdness, from the semi-industrial grind at the start of "Malpractice" to the warped waltz that introduces "RV." Catchy? Not really, nor does it make for particularly easy listening. But anyone willing to laugh along with the band's campy eclecticism and wiseacre virtuosity is guaranteed to get a buzz from "Angel Dust."
COME ON COME ON
Most country singers play on the obvious, relying on cleverness instead of wit, sentiment instead of emotion. But not Mary-Chapin Carpenter, and that's part of the reason her fourth album, "Come On Come On" seems a cut above the Nashville norm. Where another singer might treat a break-up song by reaching immediately for the heartstrings, her "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" evokes the fall of a marriage with subtle accuracy; "I Feel Lucky," on the other hand, treats its jocular premise with such imagination and verve that it's hard to listen without laughing. Add in some other minor masterpieces, like "I Am a Town" and the lustrous "Passionate Kisses," and "Come On Come On" seems downright irresistible.
Deee-Lite (Elektra 61313)
Nobody buys dance records for the philosophy. And with any luck, neither will anybody let the lyrical inanity of Deee-Lite's "Infinity Within" keep them from enjoying the music. It isn't simply that well-meaning social consciousness songs like "Vote, Baby, Vote" are even more dumb than their titles suggest; truth is, with beats as eloquent as these, words just get in the way. That's not to say that the guest raps by Arrested Development and others aren't worth hearing, of course. But let's face it -- there's no way words could possible say as much as the lithe techno pulse of "Electric Shock" or the post-P-Funk groove powering "Two Clouds Above Nine." And that, ultimately, is what makes this album so deee-liteful.
ALL OVER THE WORLD
Wailing Souls (Chaos/Columbia 48653)
As the dance-hall reggae revolution continues, Jamaican pop grows increasingly cosmopolitan, until its sound owes as much to London or New York as to Kingston. Just listen to "All Over the World," the latest effort from reggae veterans the Wailing Souls. Although the group's Jamaican heritage is hardly played down, the arrangements here take freely from house and techno rhythm approaches, lending the music the sort of slickly electronic veneer seldom found on roots rock releases. Yet the performances remain as heartfelt as ever, from the lovers rock balladry of "She Pleases Me" to the group's stunning take on the McGarrigles' "Heartbeats Accelerating."