Picks and Pans Review: Gun-Shy

updated 02/02/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/02/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Screaming Blue Messiahs

A lot of smart people in the music business have gone wild over the Screaming Blue Messiahs, treating them like the next great hope of rock 'n' roll. After listening to Gun-Shy, it's hard to understand what the noise is all about. The British trio's music is an unremarkable mix of punk and roots rock. Lead singer Bill Carter sounds sometimes like John Lydon and sometimes like Mark E. Smith of the Fall. Part of the commotion may be because the band's native England has been overrun with pretty-boy synthesizer groups. As they bash guitars and pound out a primal beat, the Messiahs provide a suitable antidote to the mainstream, much the way Hüsker Dü and the Replacements do in the U.S. Another reason for the Messiahs' success is their rocker-next-door image. They are neither young nor particularly good-looking; they use their guitars more than their hair dryers. Their concerts are reportedly energetic, perhaps because after 10 years of playing in now-defunct bar bands, these guys have learned the hard way how to put on a good show. But Gun-Shy offers a possible reason why it took them so long to break out: Their music just isn't that interesting. (Elektra)

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