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The 6ths
Wasps' Nests
London

The enigmatically named 6ths are the singers and player behind the fluorescent glimmer of this odd collection of left-of-center pop--"player" because this is Stephin Merritt's music (mostly) sung by others. Something of a quasi-underground all-star affair, the unit comprises chips off alternarock's way-hip block: the San Francisco Seals' Barbara Manning, Helium's Mary Timony, Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley--the hip list goes on and on. So does the album, at times. Think ploddingly robotic Teutonic Kraftwerksmanship and its British bastard offspring Ultravox, Depeche Mode et al., and you've almost got the 6ths' number. Admittedly, Wasps' Nests boasts a few delectables such as the airy "San Diego Zoo" and the austere but appealing synth-pop of "Movies in My Head." But, really, as we careen willy-nilly toward the next millennium, the 6ths' attempted reawakening of continental Europe's New Romanticism comes off old and in the way.(Nicky Baxter)


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Crysis
Cuervo on the Rocks
Mad Dog

Bands who score corporate sponsorship display the nutrient-rich umbilical cord at opportune moments. They might wear their sponsor's clothes in videos or name-drop them in an interview. That's not good enough for Crysis, a hard-rock band that put a sponsor's money right where its CD is. The product is prominently displayed on the CD jacket: a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila resting on a bed of rocks (get it?). Oh, there's music too, rehashed '80s hard rock with a lame twist. The title track compares a woman favorably to agave juice; "Stop the Rain" should be retitled "Stop the Pain." Part crap rock, part tequila ad--you won't know whether the dry heaves are caused by the stink or the drink. (Todd S. Inoue)


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Various Artists
Sunset Park Soundtrack
EastWest

The movie Sunset Park focuses on an all-black high school basketball team schooled on winning by a white suburbanite; it's the same old "ghetto rescue" story, now fused with a soundtrack blowin' up the radio. Thug life and ghetto love brew happily together for listening pleasure. Do you like bobbin' your head to peanut butter­thick flow with hustler hype? Try "High Till I Die" by 2Pac, "Just Doggin' " by Tha Dogg Pound and "Motherless Child" by Ghost Face Killer. For a touch of amour, turn up Aaliyah's "Are You Ready" and move with Groove Theory's "It's Alright." Travel from love's soft side to hardcore with MC Lyte (with Xscape) on "Keep On, Keepin' On," Junior Mafia's "We Don't Need It" and Adina Howard going "down on her knees" to please in "For the Funk."(Sheila Dawkins)


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Paper or Plastic?
Web of Illusion
3Sixty

The real question should be "Roxette or Morrisette?" Paper or Plastic? sounds like a sorry-ass combination of said singers with Soup Dragons providing the backup. Mika Shalom is a fey, seductive vocalist who listened to too much Portishead and Alanis. Without the four-letter words, "Something to Tell Me" would sound perfect in a Bugle Boy commercial. The overproduced, synth-driven arrangements are pushed by hard beats and guitar work devoid of any subtlety. "Web of Illusion" is seven-plus minutes of painful New Age disco. "Good-bye to Jean" bids adieu to past foibles and trousers. "Wheel" rolls angst in a sugary coating, deep fries it in '80s new-wave guitar strums and holds it out on a wobbly paper plate. Wanna bite? I didn't think so. (TSI)

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From the May 30-June 5, 1996 issue of Metro

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