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Jah Wobble
Heaven & Earth

John Worble, a.k.a. Jah Wobble, was once touted by the U.K.'s postpunk literati as "cutting edge." That misperception was magnified when Johnny Lydon hooked the bassist up with Public Image Limited. But Worble's always been a peripheral player. Pilfering his bottom-dwelling approach from reggae's life-beat pulse--never mind dissing the Rastaman's religion by adopting H.I.M.'s name--the British musician has been involved in a number of scattershot projects. Heaven & Earth is the latest in his line of musical pirateering. The title track is perhaps most illustrative of what Worble's off about these days. A bizarre Frankenstein-like "creation" consisting of Chinese folk instrumentation (erhu and bamboo flute) and voice, the track possesses a sort of lurid exoticism. Underneath the "authentic Oriental" sounds, Worble bumps Jamaican tropicalia bass. The result is an East/West Indies shotgun marriage made in the devil's workshop. (Nicky Baxter)

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Murray Close

Quattro Formaggi

Keanu Reeves' excellent musical adventure begins with this four-track enhanced CD. Dogstar's primary focus is on vocalist/guitarist and former Campbell resident Bret Domrose. He's got a real Bon Jovi/Crash Test Dummies flair, but unlike the other two, his writing and singing are below par. "Honesty Anyway" contains the crushing line "Excuse me my dear/I just had to say it's hell without you here/And all my dreams are full of fear." Whoa, somebody pass a tissue. It gets better; listeners nearly drown in the earnestness gushing from "Behind Her" and "32 Stories." No sense in comparing Reeves to John Travolta or Don Johnson, because he wisely stays in the background, concentrating on bass guitar duties, and even then, he's mixed down so low, you can barely hear him play. Dogstar is stalking music for Keanu fetishists; knowledge of what a bass does, or is, not required. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Catie Curtis
Truth From Lies

Folkish singer and guitarist Catie Curtis evokes Shawn Colvin and Nanci Griffith but with an added, childlike spunk. Her accomplished, mellow acoustics--backed by enlivening electric guitar--conjure up a comfy atmosphere. She combines her lesbianism with the hearth in a way that is both normalizing and uplifting. Although her lyrics about lovers are open, at the same time her songs embrace old-fashioned values and patiently recognize ensuing tensions. In "Radical," Curtis observes how each public embrace of two women is transformed into a political statement. Swinging from simple, clear lyrics to a lush, jacked-up chorus, the song is powerful on all levels: "It's all right, we're gonna be fine/But let's give my mama and my daddy a little time/I've been good up till now/They see you and they think that I have changed somehow/But I'm not radical when I kiss you/And I don't love you to make a point." "Dad's Yard" follows, a sweet tribute to her father's large heart and junk collection. (Ami Chen Mills)

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From the August 8-14, 1996 issue of Metro.

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