Picks and Pans Review: Theatre of Pain

updated 08/26/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/26/1985 01:00AM

Mötley Crüe

Some guys can carry off the outlandish costuming and makeup that are part and parcel of heavy metal. Some can't. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, for instance, is quite convincing in his Bride of Frankenstein getups. But the rest of his band looks silly and embarrassed in mascara and rouge, like a group of car mechanics who have wandered into a Hasty Pudding spoof. Not so Mötley Crüe. With their sleekly eerie, pouty looks, this L.A. quartet fits the part so well they might have been sent over by central casting. Singer Vince Neil is the hottest peroxide-blond hermaphrodite on the head-banger circuit. Too bad the Crüe can't get by on looks alone. Theatre of Pain does contain some of their most accomplished work, namely City Boy Blues and the single, Smokin' in the Boys Room, a punched-up cover of Brownsville Station's 1974 hit. Most of the album, though, is made up of thudding trash like Louder Than Hell and Tonight (We Need a Lover). This kind of ponderous and nasty sound may touch the hearts of concertgoers, but on vinyl, well, you probably have broken appliances in your kitchen that create more attractive melodies. While Mick Mars' guitar fills have improved, Neil's untutored and overinsistent voice has not. Bassist Nikki Sixx, who does most of the songwriting, is never going to get rich on royalties if he depends on having anyone else play his brutish songs. Mötley Crüe has the visual component down. It's the music that needs cosmetic surgery. (Elektra)

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