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RECORD RACK

Agitprop Collage Crew

January 17, 1988|CRAIG LEE

* AGE OF CHANCE. "One Thousand Years of Trouble." Virgin. Formula: Take four wanna-be rock icons from various locations (Leeds, Berlin, New York and Detroit), gussie 'em up in some English designer's idea of the next trend in utilitarian socialist fashion (bicycle outfits with customized mottoes sewn in), give them two noisy guitars and a how-to manual by the Cramps, one snare drum (minimalism is so cool right now), a pamphlet full of the kind of obvious political slogans that only disaffected middle-class kids can mouth with conviction, and a year's supply of industrial and hip-hop records for study.

Result: One big, grinding, trebly assault that sounds like a global video-game short-circuited by a meat-grinder, all sandblasted surfaces and precious little soul. Age of Chance is more marketing scheme than musical dream. "Take It," for example, is a blatant piece of Beastie noize, while elsewhere these twits mangle everything from James Brown to scratching dance-hits like "Pump Up the Volume." Nice cover graphics, though. Too bad this agitprop collage crew didn't realize that musical polemics without heart or sincerity are just brassy, shrill swill.

Check List * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty

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