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ALBUM REVIEW / POP

'Life' a Return to Punk Basics

May 31, 1997|SANDY MASUO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

** Auntie Christ, "Life Could Be a Dream," Lookout. Throughout her tenure with seminal L.A. punk outfit X, singer-guitarist Exene Cervenkova maintained an abundance of outside interests. Her solo music ventures tended to favor rootsier sounds, so it's somewhat surprising to find her first post-X project is an enthusiastic return to punk-rock basics.

Cervenkova, former X drummer D.J. Bonebrake and Rancid bassist Matt Freeman whip up 10 songs with a handful of chords, surges of adrenaline and the same type of incisive lyrical observations that gave X its bite. "A Rat in the Tunnel of Love" packs a particularly pungent, X-esque punch and "The Nothing Generation" chugs with sludgy fervor. Ultimately, though, too many tracks fail to bear out the punk conceit that energy alone can compensate for a shortage of memorable tunes.

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

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