Picks and Pans Review: The Knife Feels Like Justice

updated 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Brian Setzer

It takes a lot less time to detail what is right about this first solo album from the former leader of the Stray Cats than what is wrong. Once you get beyond some decent foundation riffs and a few ringing solos that Setzer lays down on guitar, it's a list of negatives. The singing is lifeless and flat; the lyrics pay no attention to meter or meaning. Try this non sequitur from Bobby's Back: "How come everybody's stickin' bloody fingers in my face/ I almost cried and said they sure don't make cars like they used to." They sure don't make sense the way they used to either, judging by this further poppycock from Chains Around Your Heart: "There once was a time you could vote for a man/Who wouldn't try and stick a gun in your hands/So cut out all your talkin'/And make love with me through the night." Two of the songs, Radiation Ranch and Three Guys, are reminders of the Stray Cats' versions of rock stylings from the '50s. The other nine songs are most remarkable for their conspicuous lack of style. From a player of Setzer's stature, this album is atrocious. (EMI America)

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