Picks and Pans Review: Bad English

updated 10/09/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/09/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bad English

The history of so-called supergroups does not constitute one of rock's prouder chapters. Bad English, led by John ("Missing You") Waite and Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, formerly of Journey, is a lesser variety of the all-star-band phenomenon. Maybe it's the diminished expectations we have of this alliance that makes its debut less disappointing than most similar megaprojects. But it's little more than sufferable. As produced by Richie Zito, the quintet, rounded out by bass player Ricky Phillips and drummer Deen Castronovo, wields a crunchy, roaring sound. That means they score big when they score, on the goose-stepping strut of "Best of What I Got." But when they miss, as is the case on II of 13 tracks, they take big belly flops into a hammy, pretentious puddle. (They close the record on a positive note with the winsome "Don't Walk Away.")

It's no help that Waite's lead vocal is so precious and stiff—he's best on such romantic tunes as "Price of Love." Schon's guitar solos set off a few fires. But they don't last long. The terrain surrounding Bad English is too marshy to hold the heat. (Epic)

From Our Partners