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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

On His Own, Not a Complete Unknown . . .

*** THE WALLFLOWERS, "Bringing Down the Horse", Interscope

June 09, 1996|Elysa Gardner

What do you do if your father is among the most respected artists of the rock era but you want to be taken seriously as a musician in your own right? Well, if you're singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan, son of you-know-who, you start by naming your band the Wallflowers--instead of, say, the Dylans, which is taken anyway. Unlike Julian Lennon, the younger Dylan isn't saddled with the burden of sounding exactly like his dad; there's only a faint similarity in that breathy rasp. And more significantly, the lean, catchy guitar-pop on the Wallflowers' second album is delightfully fresh and forward-thinking.

Produced by T-Bone Burnett with his usual hearty elegance, these tracks combine rootsy textures with a decidedly post-modern sensibility. On the wistful "Three Marlenas," atmospheric guitars shimmer over a backdrop of sturdy organ chords, while the more driving "God Don't Make Lonely Girls" is equal parts modern-rock angst and pure honky-tonk bravado.

The lyrics are unabashedly romantic, with references to fast cars and desperate lovers, but precociously world-weary; if they suggest the influence of any rock legend, it's probably Bruce Springsteen. And if young Jakob is lucky, his career won't be thwarted by a few inevitable Bob Dylan comparisons any more than that guy's was.

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

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* TimesLine 808-8463

To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code.

Wallflowers *5719

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