February 16, 1987 12:00 PM

The Bolshoi

The only logical reason why Friends moved high on the college music charts is that it inspires fans of progressive rock to a game of Name That Influence. This British quartet features guitars that sound like U2, lyrics with a Howard DeVoto attitude, a snippet of melody that brings to mind the Replacements, and some Robyn Hitchcockian tones from lead singer Trevor Tanner. Even at that a listener must struggle to pay attention for more than a few minutes to Bolshoi’s U.S. debut album. Some of the lyrics are banal by intention. But that doesn’t make it any easier to hear Pardon Me, in which Tanner sings, “I met this woman—it was insane/It was just like, you know—too much.” The Bolshoi’s musical agility and tight delivery only make the album more frustrating. Without any real ideas, the group ends up producing generic background music. (I.R.S.)

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