Picks and Pans Review: Man of Colours

updated 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Ice house

The album title is a rather apt description of Iva Davies, the singer and creative force in this intriguing Australian sextet. Davies is something of a musical chameleon adapting to fit current rock fashions. Earlier Icehouse records contained stunning knockoffs of David Bowie and Bryan Ferry. Then came Measure for Measure, last year's brilliant if blatant borrowing of Simple Minds' bluster. Despite strong songs such as Cross the Border and No Promises, that record was no commercial breakthrough. So Davies has changed his tack once more, and this pop-oriented work is Icehouse's best album since Sidewalk in 1984. The melodies are handsome, the arrangements, for the most part, strong. While Davies' voice may not have great flexibility or power, he uses it wisely. The title track is not actually about Davies' ever-changing palette, but, surprisingly, painter Andrew Wyeth. It's a simple, mournful tune set to a pseudo-classical background. Heartbreak Kid links an outlaw in an old Western saloon with a pickup artist in a modern bistro. One of the album's less austere selections, it's still a neatly turned composition the Eagles would have been glad to claim. Nothing Too Serious is a jumpy little piano and sax rave-up that would be extremely cozy on a Billy Joel album. You should be able to find something you like on Man of Colours. (Chrysalis)

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