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Colourful Anthems to Black-Rock Movement *** 1/2 LIVING COLOUR "Time's Up" Epic : Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five (a classic). :

September 09, 1990|STEVE HOCHMAN

"Elvis Is Dead" trumpets the gleeful, attention-getting track on this second album from the hard-driving leaders of the black-rock movement. Well, so are Malcolm X and Jimi Hendrix, but that doesn't stop them from being big influences on this group.

And it doesn't stop Elvis either--the frenzied abandon with which this quartet often plays can be traced in part back to the Pelvis himself. The point of the song, which does acknowledge Elvis as a great performer, is that he was just the first white rock apostle--it's certainly no coincidence that the song locomotes along to a metalized James Brown riff. So it's no surprise that in "Solace of You," when Corey Glover sings "Gotta go inside, back where it started," he means Africa, a point confirmed by the song's South African-inspired township jive shuffle and Mandela-inspired message.

Sound like a black-rock manifesto? It is, as was the band's 1988 debut album, "Vivid." But thanks to matured songwriting and that frenzied abandon (highlighting Vernon Reid's jazz-informed metal-master guitar heroics) it's much more than that: a rousing collection that rocks hard and rolls poetically, and that will be best appreciated by the colorblind--but not the col our blind.

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