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RECORD RACK

Moody Madcaps

October 12, 1986|KRISTINE McKENNA

"BOUNCING OFF THE SATELLITES." The B-52's. Warner Bros. The group's fourth album is dedicated to recently deceased group member Ricky Wilson. The late guitarist performs on all but two tracks and co-wrote seven of them, so his presence is very much felt and lends the music an uncharacteristic melancholy mood.

The B-52's have always seemed like delightful children whose innocence protected them from harm, but their wacky fantasy world of kitsch silliness was punctured by Wilson's death; they seem to have grown up a bit with this record.

Infused with a yearning wistfulness, songs like "Theme for a Nude Beach" and "Summer of Love" evoke memories of carefree summers long past, while "She Breaks for Rainbows" offers a portrait of a dreaming flower child too fragile to survive in the real world. The bittersweet quality that colors those songs deepens to grief on "Ain't It a Shame," a eulogy for a "love that's like a burned out fuse." All this down at the mouth talk is not to suggest that the B's have abandoned the madcap party creed on which they've built a career. They're still an uncommonly kooky bunch. "Wig" a raving tribute to the cosmetic device, builds with a crazed urgency reminiscent of "Rock Lobster."

"Detour Thru Your Mind" takes us on a psychedelic junket that culminates with the philosophical gem "I need to leave my past behind / I need to leave my behind in the past." This is the kind of wonderfully skewed wisdom that could only come from the B-52's.

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