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ALBUM REVIEW

February 17, 1996|SANDY MASUO

*** Various artists, "Home Alive: The Art of Self-Defense," Epic.

Encompassing a small galaxy of stars, from strident spoken-word artists (including Jello Biafra, Jim Carroll, Lydia Lunch and Exene Cervenka) to rockers of all persuasions, this sprawling, 45-track compilation benefits the Seattle-based Home Alive organization and its efforts to increase public awareness about violent crime and self-defense.

Selections include doses of pop both delicate (Posies) and jaunty (Presidents of the United States of America), rock ranging from the sardonic (Supersuckers) to the earnest (Love Battery), plus a noisy Nirvana number ("Radio Friendly Radio Shifter") recorded live in Europe. Six tracks were recorded specifically for "Home Alive," including Pearl Jam's scrappy version of Eddie Holland's hit "Leaving Here" and Ann and Nancy Wilson's haunting "Momma Why."

Though the sheer quantity of material is imposing, its diversity keeps it interesting.

* New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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