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RECORD RACK

* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : Camera Obscura

November 29, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

* * AZTEC CAMERA. "Love." Sire. A few years ago Roddy Frame was matching witty words with memorably unpredictable melodies and looking like a candidate to succeed Elvis Costello as the premier British songwriter. Who would have ever figured he'd end up doing an album of pale imitations of wimpy American R&B? That's the sad case on the third full album (the first in three years) from Aztec Camera, which is now just Frame. Working largely with a crew of too-slick New York session players, the young Glaswegian and such veteran producers as Russ Titleman, Tommy LiPuma, Rob Mounsey and funkster Michael Jonzun have fashioned a dull set of musical nonentities. The lowest point is "One on One," a duet with Carroll Thompson that is the kind of dance fluff you'd expect from Stacey Q. And while Frame still shows a way with words, only on "More Than a Law" and the closing "Killermont Street" does Frame's music combine with the lyrics to match past Aztec Camera efforts.

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