'Exposed' gets a boost from Vince Neil's shared solos

April 30, 1993|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

EXPOSED

Vince Neil (Warner Bros. 45260)

If the name Vince Neil doesn't ring any bells, it's probably because the former Motley Crue front man was usually overshadowed by the band's bassist, the charismatic and controversial Nikki Sixx. Now that he's on his own, you might think Neil would want to keep his first solo album focused squarely on himself. Yet not only does "Exposed" allow guitarist Steve Stevens to steal the spotlight from time to time, but the music is the better for it. Why? In part because Stevens' solos are stunningly original, but mostly because he and Neil share the same goal -- to make these songs as exciting as possible. And that they do, making the most of everything from the raunchy "Sister of Pain" to the pop-friendly "Can't Change Me."

PORNO FOR PYROS

Porno for Pyros (Warner Bros. 45228)

Because Perry Farrell has one of the most singular voices in rock and roll, everyone expected his new band, Porno for Pyros, to be at least a little reminiscent of his old band, Jane's Addiction. But "Porno for Pyros" isn't just reminiscent of the Addiction -- it comes on like a cheap impersonation. Not only does the new group rely on the same rhythmic ideas as Farrell's old band (no surprise, considering that drummer Stephen Perkins is the only other holdover from J.A.), but Peter DiStefano's guitar work seems little more than a semi-metallic simplification of the sound Dave Navarro devised for the old band. And apart from the oddly touching "Cursed Female," the Pyros' songs are disappointing in the extreme, too often substituting simple-minded self-indulgence for passion and insight.

BANG!

World Party (Chrysalis 21991)

One of the things that makes World Party so wonderful is that front man Karl Wallinger seems at home in almost any style, from edgy alternative rock to Celtic-flavored folk, to techno-intensive dance music and beyond. So it seems only natural that "Bang!" finds him trying a little of everything, from the ebullient jangle of "Kingdom Come" to the mock-operatic hilarity of "And God Said . . ." Still, technical facility can only carry a band so far, and while it's easy to be excited by the melodic possibilities Wallinger and his band mates discover in the looped groove of "Hollywood," it's hard not to be disappointed by the overt imitation of the Stones-cloned "Sunshine" or the Prince-ly "Rescue Me."

EXCURSIONS IN AMBIENCE

Various Artists (Caroline 1733)

"Ambient house" seems like a contradiction in terms. After all, ambient music is supposed to be understated and atmospheric, soothing sounds that lurk in the background. House, on the other hand, is attention-getting and aggressive, an intensely physical form of dance music. You'd think the two would blend about as easily as oil and water, yet "Excursions in Ambience" is proof to the contrary. True, the grooves on this anthology tend to be more insinuating than insistent, emphasizing exotic samples and trippy instrumental textures over bass-pumping beats. But the music is surprisingly seductive, as the best tracks -- "Calcium" by the Future Sound of London, or 777's swirling, hypnotic "Mia" -- enfold the listener in lush, inviting soundscapes.

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