Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Music/reviews

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Music/reviews

Article excerpt

Republica

Republica (RCA)

The pop battle of Britain isn't between Pete Townshend and Gene Vincent these days. There aren't any giants of their stature stomping around, for one thing. And if there were, nobody would smash skulls to prove which was superior.

Today's fight is melody vs. the fraudulent drone; not as com pelling as mods vs. rockers, but it's the only war we've got.

The good guys are represented by sugary beat masters such as Republica, and they appear to be gaining the upper hand over the kind of imported, tasteless American grunge pablum represented by British acts such as Bush.

Republica's debut disc is a cross between the M-People and the Go-Gos, computer-assisted disco with a passionate, panicky heart.

Lead singer/lyricist Saffron is a native of Nigeria with Portuguese, Chinese and English blood coursing through her veins. She seems well-acquainted with the lusty impulses and frustrations that mark romantic infatuation.

"You're weird, in tears too near and too far away," she sings on the hit-in-waiting "Ready to Go." "You drive too fast and/I smoke too much and/My heart is broken/But when I look at you you're forgiven," Saffron cracks on "Drop Dead Gorgeous."

Her backing quartet swings around dual keyboards punched up with techno gusto by Tim Dorney and Andy Todd. The songs won't transport you any farther than the nearest dance hall, but Republica never lets grim guitar solos stand in the way of a hook. Chalk one up for the good guys.

-- Paul Hampel

Hear it at 7047

A Ass Pocket of Whiskey

R.L. Burnside (Matador)

A clumsy title, vulgar album cover art, and a steaming mess of Delta blues abetted by the wrecking crew known as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Yes, R.L. Burnside has delivered what has the earmarks of an album-of-the-year contender, though he'll give purists tinnitus in the process.

This album was recor ded in one day last February in a Mississippi barn, and sounds like it."I'm going with you baby/ I'm going with you baby," Burnside repeats in his mantra of fatal attraction on "Goin' Down South." "I don't care where you go." When issued as a boot-stomping, two-chord fuzztone drone, the song achieves a whiskey-stoked headiness that drives the whole album. …

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