Picks and Pans Review: Flesh and Blood

updated 09/03/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/03/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT


In the two years since their 1988 smash Open Up and Say...Ahhh!, the boys have undergone some cosmetic changes. They've toned down the heavy eye shadow, lipstick and the mercilessly leased coifs. According to a record company publicist, the band is now concentrating on an image of "harder metal, flatter hair."

From the sounds of this mind-numbing effort and the band's new look, however, it's the other way around.

Their chart success and attention to fashion detail notwithstanding, these glam rockers are no different from most of their peers. So it's not surprising that there is barely one semicreative musical idea in this whole package. On most songs you get some tired guitar riffs pawned off as a melody, a solo consisting of shopworn flying-finger techniques and a return to a forgettable chorus. Lead singer Bret Michaels has just average pipes—if you've heard one caterwaul you've heard them all—and guitarists like C.C. DeVille are a dime a dozen. They create formulaic music that obviously sells, but c'mon, guys, you're supposed to be one of the better metal outfits.

The slightly inspired, which is to say best, cuts include the bouncy single "Unskinny Bop" and "Ride the Wind," which shows the band can mix it up when they put as much of their hearts into their music as they do their hips. But by the end of the last track, "Poor Boy Blues," the preceding 50 minutes or so seem mostly like wasted time. (Capitol)

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