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RECORD RACK

* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : FRIENDLY GHOSTS

October 25, 1987|DUNCAN STRAUSS

* * 1/2 LIONS & GHOSTS. "Velvet Kiss, Lick of the Lime." EMI America. It's fitting that one of this debut album's standout tunes is an infectious shuffle called "Contradiction." Most everything about Lions & Ghosts--from the band's name to the blend of sinewy rock and elegant textures to Rick Parker's poetic lyrics--reflects contradiction. And it doesn't stop there: The band is L.A.-based, but a far cry from the local glamster scamsters that have bowed in recent months; this music actually sounds like the output of a British band, and one that spent more than a few minutes listening to T. Rex and Roxy Music. But the quartet has no identity problem--they end up sounding like no one as much as Lions & Ghosts. Their majestic inclinations (exaggerated here by the shimmering production gloss) may not appeal to those who restrict their diet to rock that's simple, rough and crunchy. But this is a neat, gifted band with enormous potential.

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