Ramones' 'Acid Eaters' is a bad flashback to psychedelic oldies @

RECORDS

January 14, 1994|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

ACID EATERS

Ramones (Radioactive 10913) It's easy enough to appreciate the concept behind the Ramones' "Acid Eaters" -- a dozen psychedelic oldies revved up and remade by America's most enduring punk band. Too bad the execution tends more to bad trips than transcendental experiences. Funny as it is to hear the band rip through a breakneck "My Back Pages" or hot-rod "Somebody to Love" with Traci Lords on harmony, the band's remake of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" pales in comparison to the original, while Pete Townshend's harmony vocals on "Substitute" only underscore how weak Joey Ramone's lead is. Turn off, tune out, drop this.

FROM MONDAY TO SUNDAY

Nick Heyward (Epic 57755)

You know we're on the verge of an '80s revival when Nick Heyward starts having hits again. Granted, the former Haircut 100 frontman hardly sounds as fey today as he did when "Love Plus One" was on the charts, but rest assured -- maturity hasn't deepened him a whit. There's hardly a song on "From Monday to Sunday" that doesn't deal with some form of idealized, puppy-innocent romance, from the too-precious metaphor of "Kite" to the beat-over-the-head obviousness of "He Doesn't Love You Like I Do." True, Heyward's music isn't as infernally perky as it once was -- in fact, "How Do You Live without Sunshine" mopes as impressively as a George Michael ballad. But it boasts enough chiming guitars, well-sweetened strings and bright-voiced harmonies to make aging slackers nostalgic for their MTV-fed youth.

DREAM

Tia Carrere (Reprise 45300)

Did you happen to notice that even though Tia Carrere spent much of "Wayne's World 2" in the recording studio, we never heard her sing? It may not have seemed like much at the time, but after spending time with Carrere's real-life debut album, "Dream," you may find yourself grateful for her on-screen reticence. Instead of the feisty, guitar-band rock she performed on the first "Wayne's World" soundtrack, "Dream" is mostly given over to the sort of breathy dance pop Prince used to concoct for his paramours -- slick, mildly sensual and utterly forgettable. It's not entirely Carrere's fault, since even Aretha Franklin would have a hard time breathing any soul into the likes of "State of Grace" or "We Need to Belong." But even giving her the benefit of the doubt is not enough to excuse the craven sexploitation of come-hither exercises like "I Wanna Come Home with You Tonight."

TOKYO LIVE

Tony Williams (Blue Note 99031)

Everybody knows that Tony Williams is one of the greatest jazz drummers alive, but even dedicated jazz fans sometimes forget that he's also a first-rate band leader. Fortunately, there's always "Tokyo Live" to remind them. Recorded almost a year ago, it features the same unit Williams has been working with since 1986, and the rapport between these five is nothing short of stunning. It isn't just the seamless transitions between solo and ensemble sections you'd expect from a well-rehearsed band. Listen to the way Mulgrew Miller's piano work behind trumpeter Wallace Roney and saxophonist Bill Pierce seems more like conversation than accompaniment, and you'll hear just how deep the communication is here. And when the quintet plunges into a tune like "Sister Cheryl," the results are as electrifying as anything Williams has ever played on -- including the great mid-'60s albums of Miles Davis.

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