Picks and Pans Review: Night in the Ruts

updated 01/21/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/21/1980 01:00AM

Aerosmith

To detractors of the megaplatinum heavy metal band, the title may describe its musical direction. Make no mistake: These guys can rock out. They play with an explosive energy and raw sound few bands, even New Wavers, can match. Steven Tyler uses his voice for power and intensity, not for lyrical delivery. (Joe Perry, who has since left the group, is an innovative and fiery guitarist here.) Several fine spots on Ruts recall some of Led Zeppelin's great moments: Bone to Bone is close rhythmically to the excitement of Trampled Under Foot; Cheese Cake begins with rich electric slide guitar chords that resemble Jimmy Page on In My Time of Dying; and Reefer Head Woman is traditional blues that fits the Dazed and Confused model. Aerosmith may be derivative, but it gives back much more than remakes. The best tune of the LP, Chiquita, hits an exhilarating groove midway through and doesn't sound like anything anybody—including Aerosmith—has done before.

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