Picks and Pans Review: Love Among the Cannibals

updated 10/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Starship

Roll call. We've got singer Mickey Thomas, guitarist Craig Chaquico, drummer Donny Baldwin, keyboard player Mark Morgan and bass player Brett Bloomfield. All present or accounted for. At this point, all those whose sense of rock history predates Guns n' Roses may be doing a double take. That's right, as of this album there's no one left from the original crew. Over 24 years, as this Bay Area band has evolved from Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship to just plain Starship, the charter members have gradually fallen by the wayside. Grace Slick was the last to leave. (She and the other founders have started over again as—you guessed it-Jefferson Airplane. Wow! Déjà déjà vu!)

You'd think that the new Starship, having lost all that rotting timber, would unveil a fresh bold style. You'd be wrong. Mickey Thomas can be an affecting singer but (except on "Send a Message" and "I'll Be There") he coarsens his tone on this album, sounding like every Tom, Dick and Dirty Harry on MTV. Chaquico, a technically brilliant guitarist, rarely stirs the heartstrings here. His air-siren playing hits like electro-shock therapy, making you twitch and bolt upright with a rictus grin plastered on your face. The worst deficiency on this album is its material. These tracks are wall-to-wall rock clichés, albeit crisply produced and vigorously performed. Starship does sound more impassioned on four songs the band members had a hand in writing than on the seven bought off the rack. Mostly, though, this material can't be made to fly, even by the new, unimproved Starship. (RCA)

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