Motley Crue loses nothing with new face

March 18, 1994|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

MOTLEY CRUE

Motley Crue (Elektra 61534)

Because the singer is usually seen as being a band's "face," a lot of folks figured that Motley Crue would be a mess without Vince Neil. Well, they figured wrong. As "Motley Crue" makes plain, new singer John Corabi has no trouble taking Neil's place,

delivering "Hooligan's Holiday" with an authoritative howl and slipping a nasty snarl into the sound of "Hammered." But the album's real strength is the noise made by the rest of Crue. From the Aerosmith-style boogie of "Welcome to the Numb" to turn-it-up crunch of "Power to the Music," this band has never sounded stronger.

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

FMob (EastWest 92301)

Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy may have a golden reputation as performers and producers (platinum in the case of En Vogue), but they're hardly considered heavy-hitters in the jazz world. Even so, FMob -- the duo's jazz-meets-hip-hop studio project -- hardly sounds like the work of amateurs. Maintaining a sound that's more savvy than slick, the music on "Once in a Blue Moon" boasts both a loose approach to rhythm and an adventurous sense of harmony. Granted, the two retain enough of their pop smarts to make "We Came to Move Ya" and "The Vibe" sound like potential hits, but they never ask the soloists to play down to a mainstream audience. As a result, FMob avoids the obvious easy-listening cliches and really gives its listeners something to chew on.

DAY DREAMING AT MIDNIGHT

Sir Douglas Quintet (Elektra 61474)

Simplicity has always been the toughest trick in pop music, but the Sir Douglas Quintet made it work in the '60s, and they continue to do so today. Of course, it's unlikely that anything on "Day Dreaming at Midnight" will follow "She's About a Mover" and "Mendocino" into Top-40 history, but that hardly diminishes the pleasure to be had from tunes like the bluesy "Freedom Is Mine" or the throbbing, Tex-Mex-flavored "Darling Delores." But this isn't just a nostalgia act; in fact, one of the best things about this new Sir Douglas Quintet is that it has no qualms about updating its sound, be it through the guitar crunch in "Intoxication" or the wah-wah guitar and synths that flesh out the title tune.

TOO HIGH TO DIE

Meat Puppets (London 422 828 484)

Let's face it -- nobody in alternative rock handles blues and roots music with as much affection or imagination as the Meat Puppets. Scan through "Too High to Die," and you'll hear stuff like "Severed Goddess Hand," a deliciously warped piece of Byrdsian psychedelia, or "Flaming Heart," which bridges the gap between ZZ Top boogie and the 13th Floor Elevators. Unfortunately, you'll also hear stuff like "Station," which boasts lyrics like "Pigs are sheep and cats are dogs/And thoughts are made of Lincoln logs." And when you do, you'll know precisely what they mean by "too high."

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