April 08, 1991 12:00 PM

Billy Squier

Squier, patron saint of melodic muscle rock, returns with another assortment of brash backbeats that, by his standards, is a little on the timid side. If the amplifiers are set lower than usual, though, the riffs are still pretty good. And what else do you need to know? Billy never deviates all that far from his (tom-tom) beaten path.

So many have trodden this trail, it’s not surprising the result isn’t a paragon of originality. “Lover,” for instance, is reminiscent of Bad Company’s “Ready for Love.”

Squier devotees may be struck by the mellower cuts, such as “Conscience Point,” and by Billy’s tinkering with his usual guitar-bass-drums attack. In another experiment, he thins out his voice and adds organ to “Young at Heart.” There are horns on the clipped boogie of “Hollywood,” making it sound like late-period J. Geils Band. Tommy James-style pop even gets mixed in with the thumping “She Goes Down.”

Don’t get the wrong idea. The guy hasn’t turned into a fancy pants, as typical Squier tracks like “Nerves on Ice” prove. Billy’s wardrobe is still devoted mostly to blue jeans and white T-shirts. Blue suede shoes, optional. (Capitol)

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