Picks and Pans Review: Private Waters in the Great Divide

updated 04/09/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/09/1990 01:00AM

Kid Creole & the Coconuts

It's a good bet that Sting probably won't start his next record off with cover versions of such songs from this album as "I Love Girls," "(No More) Casual Sex" and "The Sex of It." But there's no pretense of making Serious Pop Music on this album, and titles like these are basic entry requirements if you're joining the quest for the title of Loosest, Hippest and Lewdest Band of the '90s.

The Kid, August Darnell, addresses an essentially sober subject in his own peculiar way on "(No More) Casual Sex" ("Once upon a time/A man with experience was a welcome find"), but he enlivens the message with a calypso kick. Prince contributed "The Sex of It," a narcissist's delight about a man who complains gleefully about a woman wanting him only for his body. Both Creole and Prince make good use of bare-boned funky guitar chords, so their styles dovetail nicely.

In case it isn't clear that Darnell is dedicated to wit and lust, not necessarily in that order, he offers up "When Lucy Does the Boomerang": "When Lucy does the boomerang/She'll grind you like she was a Sherman tank." Nobody said anything about subtlety.

Even if you aren't swept away by Darnell's sense of humor, his smooth mix of calypso, funk and new wave makes the record feel so festive even the frailty of his own vocals isn't much of a distraction.

Neither the Kid nor his decorative backup singers, the Coconuts, are reinventing pop music here. Still it's a nice change to hear a band that doesn't take itself so seriously. Here's to Darnell and company for remembering that sometimes music is supposed to be fun. (Columbia)

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