Picks and Pans Review: We Can't Dance

updated 12/02/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/02/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST


Are we in for another formulaic, hit-laden release from this British supertrio, back in action after five quiescent years? Hardly.

The length of the songs alone sets this record apart. Only one of the 12 tracks clocks in at under four minutes. Three exceed seven minutes. That means a return to the more experimental work that disappeared after 1981's Abacab. Either that or the boys are desperately trying to kill time with pointless noodling. Seeing as how they're, ahem, pop craftsmen of rare distinction, let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

There are just three melodically fetching, radio-ready tracks: the ballads "Never a Time" and "Since I Lost You," and "I Can't Dance," a simple slammer with an arrangement that shows off the group's remarkable facility for aural atmospherics. "Hold on My Heart" has a pretty chorus, but it takes its own sweet time getting there.

Even on the lesser songs, these guys do many things well, for instance the chiming Byrdsian guitar on "Tell Me Why" or the roundelay harmonies on "Living Forever." But too often they're just exterior-decorating their own unprepossessing compositions. Okay, so they can't dance. But have they forgotten how to write? (Atlantic)

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