Picks and Pans Review: Synchronicity
updated 07/25/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/25/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
One way to make music in a high-tech age is to use instruments that are products of the age—synthesizers, for instance—to generate rhythms that are as unvarying as the quartz oscillators in the latest digital watches. That's what such so-called techno-pop bands as Human League have been doing. The Police, on the other hand, avoid a robotic effect by keeping a readily identifiable guitar sound and drawing from a variety of rhythmic influences. At the same time, the blending of bassist Sting's bright, keening vocals with guitarist Andy Summers' billowing fills and gleaming, fine-edged accents suggests an up-to-the-minute intimacy with microworld aesthetics. Synchronicity, the group's fifth album, is highlighted by the gently romantic Tea in the Sahara, King of Pain, with its alternately monastic and cathartic moods, and Synchronicity II, an aggressive, steely piece that uses a longer melodic line than usual in Police songs. The wild card in the set is Mother, by Summers (Sting writes most of the songs). Sounding more like Captain Beefheart than the Police, it's a blackly humorous portrait of a poor shlep who needs only to hear the phone ring to start ranting. Why? Every time he picks up the receiver dear old Mom is there.