Picks and Pans Review: Two Hearts
Men at Work
With the departure of bassist John Rees and drummer Jerry Speiser, Men at Work has succumbed to a kind of manpower shortage that doesn't help the Australian group's first album in two years. While lead singer Colin Hay, keyboardist-saxophonist Greg Ham and guitarist Ron Strykert remain, the ensemble's drumming has been taken over by a human wave of percussionists, including Ham and Hay. They lay down a monotonous, slamming beat that all but overwhelms the album. None of Hay's tunes has the sort of hypnotic appeal generated by the group's 1981 breakthrough hit, Who Can It Be Now?, and occasionally Hay sinks to the level of such lyrics as "I'll stay at home/Where the bad guys never go/ Where the pimples never show." He can be clever, as he is in Snakes and Ladders: "There's a snake at the top of every ladder/ Who will tell you that he's your best friend/ Everyone important needs an adder/ But subtraction gets you in the end." It's pretty hard to fight through to the interesting fragments, though. Ham and Hay, who served as co-producers, either didn't hear or didn't care that their rhythm section was creating a numbing background that undercuts the whole album. (Columbia)
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