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BALLISTIC KISSES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Total Access (UK Don't Fall off the Mountain) 1982
Wet Moment (UK Don't Fall off the Mountain) 1983

Pseudo-streetwise lyrics tend to distract attention from the solidly danceable, cleanly produced synth-dominated pop on this New York band's first album. When their political stance turns to political role-playing, though, the result is oversimplification that borders on insincerity. Little wonder, then, that vocalist/wordsmith Michael Parker strives to sing like Joe Strummer (cough, cough), though he sounds more comfortable in a Brian Eno mode.

Wet Moment is a tedious cross between the B-52's and Gang of Four: minimal melodies, propulsive rhythms and bleak vocals. It's easy to believe freaked-out tunes like "Emotional Ice" and "Everything Leaks," but how alienated do you really want to feel?

[Mark Fleischmann/Jon Young]