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Cryptic Writings

When Dave Mustaine got kicked out of Metallica, he started Megadeth, and the bands have been rivals ever since. Metallica recently ripped Mustaine on KSJO's Don't Call Us, We'll Call You broadcast, but Megadeth deserves more credit. Though the band's hard-hitting speed metal has slowed a few RPMs through the years, Mustaine's unmistakable voice spills out politically provocative lyrics with as much bite as ever. On "Trust," he sings, "My body aches from mistakes / Betrayed by lust / We lied to each other so much / That in nothing we trust." Megadeth's thoughtful, introspective, always-dark songs have timely themes. "Use the Man" is a powerful dirge to a heroin addict, and "Have Cool, Will Travel" targets the issue of kids packing guns. (Sarah Quelland)

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The Decibels
Create Action
G.I. Records

The Decibels make Rickenbacker rock in the tradition of both the Dave Clark Five and the Hi-Fives. "Good," "Change," "But I Love You" and "Whole Wide World" entertain with the feel-good swing of a windup toy, while "So You're in Love Again" hints at a punk side lurking beneath. The songwriting is so-so, but the Decibels more than compensate with their smoking leads and hip-shaking arrangements. Too bad there aren't more bands like the Decibels. If I were in charge of interior decorating for rock, I'd take down the Third Eye Blinds and put up some Decibels. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Nancy Wenstrom

Christian as they come, Nancy Wenstrom works religious themes into her bubble-gum folk-country tunes. It's a shame her songs are filled with such sticky sweet sentiments--she's got soft, sexy pipes suggestive of Deana Carter. Blushing with sappy love and light, Wenstrom delivers such beauties as "Apples have red skin / And Jesus is my kin" ("Good Love") and "With love as my mortar / My house will be so strong / Neither hell-fire or high water / Could tear this building down" ("Bricklayer Blues"). The one stomachable song is the throwaway "Piece of the Pie," on which she sings, "I like to spin that roulette wheel / And how high heels make me feel / Stockings with a seam / And real ice cream." It's difficult to write so harshly about someone so nice, but only the Touched by an Angel flock could appreciate this album. (SQ)

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Tom, Dick and Harry
The Blue Album

Mad smooth, like the crease in a fresh pair of slacks. Cool, like the other side of the pillow. Grooving, like Aztec Camera with a soul jones and a Fender Rhodes. Tom, Dick and Harry is the best band of the new San Francisco soul-jazz movement. It's easy to feel ambitious about the future after listening to the crushed velvet tones of "Gideon, What's Up?!!" "Pennies From Heaven" and "Last Forever." The band ranges widely enough to appeal to fans of Groove Collective, the Style Council, Brand New Heavies and the Cardigans. Old-school soul fans will get a leg up; new schoolers will "raise the roof." (TSI)

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From the February 12-18, 1998 issue of Metro.

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