Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

POP MUSIC | Record Rack

** 1/2 BARENAKED LADIES, "Maroon," Reprise

September 10, 2000|NATALIE NICHOLS

Some might suspect these wacky Canadian pop stars have titled their new album after the way Curly of the Three Stooges pronounced "moron." But no, the follow-up to 1998's multi-platinum "Stunt" is named for a 1966 track by "word-jazz" pioneer Ken Nordine, who had a thing for twisting ordinary, even banal, situations into funhouse-mirror reflections on conformity.

Barenaked Ladies' approach is vastly different, but the effect of such tracks as "Pinch Me," with its view of a quiet life pinging between contentment and desperation, is vaguely similar. By now we expect this "American Beauty"-style "look closer" attitude from the deceptively fun-loving quintet, as much as we know the players will veer confidently from rollicking heartland-rock ("Never Do Anything") to exuberant power-pop ("Too Little Too Late") to XTC-esque clever bitterness ("Sell, Sell, Sell").

Perhaps more surprising are the glimmers of maturity in such numbers as the insistently hooky "Baby Seat," which advocates a grown-up approach to growing up. Songwriters Steven Page and Ed Robertson are even almost serious in the protest singer's lament "Helicopters." But while there's a genuine wistfulness to the wryly gruesome "Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel," the collection's emotional states are so far-flung that it ultimately feels too glib. The Ladies play the Great Western Forum on Oct. 10.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums will be in stores Tuesday.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|