Picks and Pans Review: Machismo

updated 10/31/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST


The problem with this album is not its inconsistency, for Cameo, an Atlanta-based trio, has always been a singles-oriented group. Their records customarily have one or two great songs surrounded by a lot of funk folderol. You end up having to buy the cow to get a glass of milk. The problem with Machismo is that it follows their previous LP, Word Up, which introduced two nearly perfect singles, the title track and Candy. Those songs were models of leader Larry Blackmon's style. He manages to crossbreed the loosey-goosey feel of such 70s funk artists as George Clinton with the more visceral funk of Prince and other '80s stars. Blackmon often employs goofy, distorted vocals, sounding like a robot with a mouthful of peanut butter. Last time, those elements meshed well. So well, in fact, that with this record, Cameo is brazenly cannibalizing its past success. Pretty Girls is an obvious copy of Word Up, just as Honey is a refrain of Candy If you can plagiarize yourself, Cameo has done it with this collection. Other songs, like You Make Me Work, also quote liberally, if not shamelessly, from Word Up. There is one bright, original spot on the record, Soul Tightened, which is both spunky and funky. For Cameo, that constitutes a pretty good album. (Polygram)

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