MUSIC REVIEWS: Big Star

Big Star in Space Rykodisc
Music ••• Sound •••
If this disc had been released under leader Alex Chilton's name, it might be hailed as one of his most enjoyable and consistent solo albums. But when you slap the legendary name Big Star on a disc that's little more than a fun throwaway, you're asking for trouble.

True, this lineup - with Chilton, original drummer Jody Stephens, and Posies mainmen Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow - has worked sporadically as Big Star since 1993. But any cultists expecting a power-pop masterpiece to match "September Gurls" or "Back of a Car" or even the junkie catharsis of Third/Sister Lovers will instead get the latter-day Chilton mix of roadhouse R&B, offhand pop, and goofy novelties (two of which, the campy "Love Revolution" and the Beach Boys pastiche "Turn My Back on the Sun," show up way too early). The feel is so casual, it takes a few listens to find the great songs, like the soul strut "Mine Exclusively," the ballad "Lady Sweet," and the winningly weird finale, "Makeover." This band doesn't sound too concerned with its legend, so maybe you shouldn't be either.

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