January 10, 1994 12:00 PM

Crash Test Dummies

So what have we here…another neo-folkie, pseudo-hippie, sort of Celtic, dryly humorous, exceptionally literate pop band? Yup, and there may be more; if this Canadian quintet continues turning out quality discs like this, there will surely be imitators.

This second CD from the Dummies is an improvement over the group’s admirable 1991 debut. It features a dozen tunes that sound like nothing you’ve heard before yet are completely hummable from the very first listening. The melodies are amiably pop, too laid-back to be rock and too upbeat to be ballads. And lead singer Brad Roberts’ throaty vocal style—sort of like a Bea Arthur recording played back at slow speed—adds a quirky twist.

Typical Dummies songs ruminate about topics like evolution (“In the Days of the Caveman”), old age (“Afternoons and Coffeespoons”) and the intelligence of ducks (“How Does a Duck Know?”). And it’s a rare band indeed that can drop words like “cubist” and “dadaist” into a Top 40-friendly tune (“When I Go Out with Artists”). (Arista)

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