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RECORD RACK

Boi-ngo: Ho-hum

April 05, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

"BOI-NGO." Oingo Boingo. MCA. 3

With this edition of Record Rack, Calendar introduces its quick-reference, facial-expression rating symbols. Translation: 1 = "Great Balls 'o Fire" 2 = "Good Vibrations" 3 = "Maybe Baby" 4 = "Running on Empty"

Ho-hum, more alienation from Los Angeles' resident outsiders-looking-in. At least that's the image leader Danny Elfman tries to paint once again on the band's sixth album.

The problem is he tries too hard to show that he's weird and different and perhaps a little dangerous. At times he comes close--in "Home Again," a story of being lost in the big bad world, is set to a percussively textured keyboard bed livened by fun-house horns. The next song, "Where Do All My Friends Go," begins promisingly with a verse of twisted doo wop, but then settles for the standard studio-crafted Boingo beat. For the most part, to borrow a couple of lines from "New Generation," Oingo Boingo wants to seem "both erotic and deadly," but winds up being just another superficial "Spandex obsession."

Ironically, the best track of the album is "We Close Our Eyes." By not really trying to be strange, the band winds up with an excellent--and even a bit perverse--little pop song. The open mood actually carries on for the next two songs, but then it's back to the same old "look at me--I'm outrageous" routine. Hey, Danny! Real outsiders don't have to keep trying to prove how unique they are.

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