Picks and Pans Review: One

updated 09/11/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/11/1989 01:00AM

The Bee Gees

You have to hand it to the Bee Gees. When it comes to adaptability, they make even Kenny Rogers look like a piker. After all, Kenny only flopped from tie-dyed psychedelia—"Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In)"—to a bland brand of country, safe for children of all ages. The Bee Gees began in the '60s as mawkish pop balladeers ("I've Got to Get a Message to You") and, in one of the oddest transformations in the history of musical mankind, mutated into disco superstars in the '70s. They were stayin' alive, ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive.

Now that a seemly amount of time has passed since the end of the disco era, Maurice, Robin and Barry have reemerged as the brothers glib. One, like its predecessor, ESP, is a genial, Teflon-coated pop collection. Songs like "Ordinary Lives," "Flesh and Blood" and the title track are palatable, seamless and totally inconsequential. Robin and Barry's quavery tenor-falsettos and all those whispery harmonies will still give you the heebie-jeebies. But if you can abide that fingernails-on-the-blackboard choirboy quality, the music on One is so sweet and light, it's incredibly smooth going down. It's only when the trio takes a stab at soulfulness, as on "Bodyguard" and "House of Shame," that you'll want to go screaming for the hills.

Given their talents and the population curve, this type of contemporary pop is just the bandwagon for the Gibbs to jump on. But bear in mind, if oompah music were to get hot, you'd see the brothers in lederhosen and Tyrolean hats on their next album cover. (Warner Bros.)

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