Recordings

Without guitarist Randy Bachman and singer Burton Cummings, there's nothing here to indicate this is the same band that did "These Eyes" and "No Time." These losers could've reunited as Ambrosia for all the difference it makes.

The most bile-baiting among several truly awful songs is the preposterous closing track, "Rock N' Roll Classic," which culls its clich-riddled lyrics from dozens of old rock war-horses ("She'll do the sea cruise in her blue suede shoes"; "She went down to the crossroads the day the music died . . ." You get the idea). "Classic" even alludes to GW's lone No. 1 hit, "American Woman." To paraphrase a line from that 25-year-old tune, I wish the reconstructed Guess Who would stay away from mee-hee!

You'll average more familiar faces in this next company of strangers--two original Bad Company alumni and the bassist from Foreigner. Even though Mick Ralphs' idea of being adventurous was leaving a cool band like Mott the Hoople to play in a revamped version of Free, give him credit for finding the finest Paul Rodgers clone since Lou Gramm. Singer Robert Hart invokes the young fire of Bad Co.'s original white soul stud, especially on the title track, which recounts prison life without going into too much detail about being sodomized by a guy named Big Felicia.

Only a fool would expect searing originality with song titles like "Dance With the Devil" and "Pretty Woman," but then it's the sheer predictability factor that kept people coming back to Bad Company for years. And the band is just as conservative here as it was in 1974. Purists might pooh-pooh that this veteran act should never have carried on without Rodgers, but just recalling a few bars of the Firm's "Radioactive" should dispel that notion in record time.--Serene Dominic

Bad Company is scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 21, at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum. Showtime is 7 p.m.

The Chemical Brothers
Exit Planet Dust
(Astralwerks)

As the Dust Brothers, British spin docs Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons honed their reputation as mix masters of the trip-hop underworld. Recognized for their inflamed beats and outlandish samples, the Brothers had prominent artists such as Manic Street Preachers and Justin Warfield eagerly queuing up for a remix treatment.

Exit Planet Dust finds the newly renamed Chemical Brothers grafting their choicest samples onto 11 original compositions. The result is an intensely danceable disc that embraces the restless spirit of the Brothers' early days, when they were merely a pair of deejays pumping out strains of trip-hop, rock and acid house in smoky, strobe-lighted London clubs. While many post-techno lemming deejays stagnate in pools of ambient muck, the Chemical Brothers continue to mix music from the heart--not the test tube.

Stacking sound bites of sirens, wailing women and dub-bass grooves, Rowlands and Simons do their best work on "Leave Home." Other standout tracks include the wah-wah-infested "Chemical Beats" (initially released on the 1994 EP Fourteenth Century Sky), and the sledgehammer single "Fuck Up Beats," guaranteed to clear your head like a hot mustard rush.--Leigh Silverman

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