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  Listen Up! 6/18/2002 Listen Up!

Tuesday, June 18

Lathun, “Fortunate,” Motown Records. This is actually the second CD we’ve heard today, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything about Donell Jones. That’s too bad, because this one would benefit from a comparison to the blandness of Jones’ album. Not that this is all that exciting. Lathun has a more pleasant voice, not nearly as clipped as that of Jones, but far from engaging. The grooves are smooth, with odd touches like a melodica line in one cut. There are no melodies to speak of, just meandering vocal lines that go up and down as the chords go back and forth, all in the service of beats that we’ve heard a thousand times before. I’m predisposed to like stuff like this, but it ain’t moving me.

Kinky, “Kinky,” Sonic 360. Take various ethnic international musics, and pump them up with devastating dance beats, and you get, I don’t know, polka downbeat or some such name of a genre. Do you need to hear this? Nah. Will it embarrass you to hear it? Not as much as you might think to hear about it. It’s pleasant, inconsequential stuff, kinda hookish and goofy.

Speedealer, “Second Sight,” Palm Pictures. Take some Henry Rollins vocalizing, some guitar licks ripped from Motley Crue and Motorhead, some drums sounding like Metallica leftovers (without the double bass kick), and you’ve got a whole lot of nothin’. Kids, it’s really not easy to make effective hard rock’n’roll; the first step is you have to really believe you can be huge. Anything less is tainted with an irony this music can’t support.

--Steve Pick



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