Picks and Pans Review: Brigade

updated 05/21/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/21/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT


It has been three years since Heart's last album, and that seems to have given Ann and Nancy Wilson and their men-in-waiting time to mellow out from the churlish, mean-spirited tone of Bad Animals.

Heart's music can still be as aggressive as a bonk on the noggin. The Wilsons can match Joan Jett snarl for snarl any day, and in case hearing the songs isn't convincing enough, there are those titles: "Call of the Wild." "Wild Child." "Cruel Nights."

This album, though, is much more varied in feeling, right down to soft, romantic lead vocals by Ann W. On Bad Animals, things never got more affectionate than a series of tunes that could have been grouped under the heading "I Rip Out Your Liver. Tear It into Little Pieces and Feed It to the Hyenas." Brigade, however, includes not only the affecting confessional "I Didn't Want to Need You" but also the positively gushy (and very pretty) "I Love You."

The Wilsons wrote most of the songs themselves, with an assist from drummer Denny Carmassi and Van Halenite Sammy Hagar. The four collaborated on "The Night"—"Take my flesh/I'll give you my soul"—which they claim was inspired by Anne Rice's vampire novels.

If songs like "The Night" give the album a Drs. Jekyll and Mses. Hyde feel, don't worry. Heart sounds versatile and adventuresome here, not erratic. Anyway, there are worse things in rock and roll than erratic behavior. Lists on request. (Capitol)

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