Picks and Pans Review: V

updated 10/29/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/29/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

Live (Radioactive/MCA)

Live likes to be known as the band that uses big guitars to chase big issues—birth, death, religion—in epic grunge-rockers like early hits "I Alone" and "Lightning Crashes, " to the tune of 17 million records sold. Booming intensity remains the point of the quartet's fifth outing, but it isn't 1994 anymore.

If Live's guitars have gotten even heavier, roaring to rival P.O.D. or Staind's, its lyrics are now in danger of wafting away in a stiff breeze: "Is that a Swatch watch?/Do you know what time it is?" growls singer Ed Kowalczyk on the shallow "Deep Enough." On the misguided "People Like You, " the lads from York, Pa., envision themselves in the ranks of Bono and Bruce Springsteen. Dream on, guys. The county-fair circuit beckons.

Bottom Line: Lifeless

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