Picks and Pans Review: Time's Up

updated 10/08/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/08/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Living Colour

Not enough study has been devoted to the strong link between heavy metal music and golf. We do know that both pursuits have traditionally been the province of white men in gaudy clothes. (Jimi Hendrix doesn't count. He was a god.) It's only lately that, paralleling recent country-club controversies, all-black rock groups like Living Colour and 24-7 Spyz have been smashing down the door of the mighty white Heavy Metal Club with a vengeance.

This quartet again embodies an unusual formula. The warring elements include Vernon Reid's blaring, no-quarter-given guitar and Corey Glover's strong-but-smooth vocals. He's more of a crooner than a headbanger; as a result, Living Colour's brand of hard rock sounds almost romantic. Understand that "romantic" here is a reference to style, not lyrics. The only song on affairs of the heart, "Love Rears Its Ugly Head," treats love as an infection. The band usually trades in more serious themes, such as their African heritage ("Pride"), sex in the age of AIDS ("Under Cover of Darkness") and the deluded hubris of a crack dealer ("New Jack Theme").

With their musical integrity and accomplishment (this is an impressive outing for drummer William Calhoun), Living Colour demands respect. Yet Time's Up, like their debut LP, Vivid, isn't very deep. With the exception of "Type" (and, to a lesser extent, "Love Rears Its Ugly Head," "Solace of You" and "Information Overload"), most of the record is melodically forbidding.

But accommodation is probably the last thing Living Colour cares about. They're too intent on using blistering thrash metal to blast your skullcap off. Fore! (Epic)

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