The Woodentops

It doesn't necessarily take a great voice to make a great rock performer, but what a nice surprise to come across the Woodentops, a popular British quintet of rockers who actually know how to sing. Sweet, confident harmonies combined with Rolo McGinty's edgy lead vocals give the band's second U.S. release a polished sound. This is the kind of album that won't hurt Mom's ears if she walks in while you're listening to it. She won't object to the subject matter either, generally love songs or pick-me-up numbers such as Love Affair With Everyday Living. That doesn't mean the Woodentops sound wimpy. Alice Thompson's witty, garage-style, keyboard playing and Benny Staples' imaginative drumming—including regular use of cow bells and Chinese temple blocks—keep the sound lively enough for fans of progressive rock. Unfortunately the album does have a problem common to the work of young bands. (The oldest Woodentops, McGinty and Simon Mawby, are 25.) Not all the songs are distinctive enough to stand on their own and the restrained production makes potentially worthwhile material at times tedious. McGinty, who in person is such a dynamic performer that he can change a crowd's mood with a gesture, projects only a fraction of that charisma on Giant. As soon as the talented Woodentops get some new material, they may be able to capture their full potential on a record. (Columbia)

  • Contributors:
  • Michael Small,
  • Ralph Novak.