Picks and Pans Review: Clues

updated 11/10/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/10/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

Robert Palmer

A heretofore humdrum merchant of blues-rock and white funk with only one memorable hit (1979's Bad Case of Loving You), Palmer apparently has been gulping down new-wave vitamins. That may explain the surprising stamina and muscle on this new LP. His new sound is dominated by electronically processed guitar, with keyboard and percussion lines serving as additional rhythmic agents. This succeeds best in pounding dance-rock numbers, Looking for Clues and Johnny and Mary (both written by Palmer and sung by him with seductive cool). Gary Numan floats by to play keyboards on I Dream of Wires, with Palmer's tight, assertive band. Its vitality even rubs off on some of his more characteristic offerings, too, such as the reggae-flavored Woke Up Laughing and the hard-rocking Sulky Girl. The album's pensive closer, Found You Now, manages to be both funky and exotic. "I wish that we were enchanted," Palmer sings plaintively. "Girl, now I take it for granted." This time, his listeners can too.

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