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RECORD RACK

Toronto Twaddle : * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty :

December 06, 1987|JOHN VOLAND and Check List and **** Great Balls of Fire and *** Good Vibrations ** Maybe Baby * Running on Empty

** "SURVEILLANCE." Triumph. MCA. Neither feast nor famine, fish nor fowl, black nor white, metal nor pop. This Canadian trio has been dancing on the volcano's rim for 12 years now, vacillating between autentico crunch and loud, ultra-harmonized pap. While offering some of the more erudite lyrics and song concepts in mainstream rock, the Toronto troika still refuses to get off the fence and declare for pop or agin' it. "Surveillance" perpetuates the band's pseudo-intellectual image. Want literary references? You can take your pick between Matthew Arnold, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lucretius, Pascal, Alexander Pope and Aristotle. Hoo boy. It's too bad the names of all of those esteemed literati are attached to such uninvolving twaddle. Using a Thomas Jefferson quote to preface a song about rockin' down with a teen bimbo is sacrilege by any standard, even rock's besotted ones. If the production (by Thom Trumbo and the band), playing and sound weren't so top-notch, this album would be instantly disposable. As it is, it's fine driving music--if you can escape all the searingly silly allusions and pretensions. Lighten up, guys!

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