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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

** 1/2 CHRIS STILLS, "100 Year Thing," Atlantic

January 11, 1998|Steve Hochman

More like a 25- or 30-year thing, Stills' debut insistently--and perhaps inevitably--recalls music made in the late '60s and early '70s by papa Stephen Stills, from the shuffly electric-acoustic classic-rock blend to the sandy voice. But 23-year-old Stills fils sounds so natural with the style that it's hard to fault him much for it, even as he echoes the harmonies of dad's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" on his own "Lucifer & Jane," and the measured cadence and time signature shifts of "Change Partners" on "Last Stop."

Arguably, it would be worse if he had self-consciously steered clear from territory that's apparently imprinted in his genes, as well as those of producer-collaborator Ethan Johns, son of classic-rock producer Glyn Johns. And it's not as if Stills doesn't add some of his own elements, though some of those are also borrowed from the past--notably the bottom-heavy Middle Eastern blues of "Voyeur," recalling early, folky Led Zeppelin. Even his voice here, pushed more than in other places, resembles a young, though atypically restrained, Robert Plant.

Jakob Dylan's done fine without distancing himself too far from his father's music--his band the Wallflowers has sold more copies of "Bringing Down the Horse" than any Bob Dylan album has ever sold. Young Stills' efforts seem a bit modest to generate such expectations, but they hold plenty of appeal for fans of his models.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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