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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

In Brief

November 15, 1998|SANDY MASUO

* 1/2 Sublime, "Sublime Acoustic--Bradley Nowell and Friends," Gasoline Alley/Universal. Two fatal flaws sink this posthumous unplugged collection. First, the songs are sketchy, so the home recordings drift aimlessly while the live numbers drown in crowd noise. Second, Nowell was a serviceable singer when fronting Sublime, but without a rock band behind him his vocals are downright dubious. A couple of bright spots glimmer--a version of the Melodians' "Rivers of Babylon," the bluesy "Don't Push"--but there's far too much murk between them.

*

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

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* Excerpts from these 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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