Picks and Pans Review: Flip-Flop

updated 05/15/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/15/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Guadalcanal Diary

The opening strains of this record's first song "Look Up!" sound suspiciously like Guadalcanal Diary's fellow Georgians R.E.M. Murray Attaway couldn't do a better Michael Stipe imitation if he had been paid a bundle to appear on Star Search as a Stipe clone, and John Poe supplies a backbeat that mimics R.E.M.'s rhythm-heavy sound to a T. It might also be only coincidental that Flip-Flop's producer, Don Dixon, has also manned the controls for R.E.M., the Smithereens and Marshall Crenshaw, but traces of these artists find their way into a number of songs on this, Guadalcanal's fourth release. (Dixon has produced three of the four GD records.) There are, however, more hopeful moments of originality displayed by this talented Marietta foursome. "The Likes of You" is a nasty, fullblown guitar cruncher, while "Whiskey Talk" pokes fun at those drunks who seem to believe that they are making sense, and the song's slightly slurred guitar riff is an appropriate touch. There's a nice '60s, retro feel to "Fade Out" too.

The LP's piece de resistance, "Pretty Is as Pretty Does," opens the second side with a fine blend of biting lyrics, a bold bass line, courtesy of Rhett Crowe, and a catchy chorus. There is enough here to satisfy the insatiable appetites of college radio loyalists who have kept track of Guadalcanal Diary's comings and goings. Other listeners might find the menu a bit too limited. (Elektra)

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