Picks and Pans Review: Wah Wah

updated 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

James

This English sextet, on the verge of a U.S. breakthrough, has created their latest album from the out-takes of last year's hit, Laid. Funkier and less precise than its predecessor, Wah Wah probably won't do much for the band's Stateside imageā€”it's too quirky and complex for a Top 40 nation stuck on bubblegum pop. Still, the new collection includes some of James's most exciting work. On songs such as "Jam J," "Frequency Dip" and "Honest Joe," James piles robotic vocals, cool synth riffs and an appealingly whimsical attitude onto the trademark experimentalism of their producer, Brian Eno (Roxy Music, David Bowie). And although there are several amorphous curiosities on this album ("Burn the Cat" and "Say Say Something") that should definitely be stamped For Diehard James Fans Only, Wah Wah is ultimately satisfying because of the band's astute musicianship. All leftovers should be this tasty. (Fontana/ Mercury)

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