May 30, 1994 12:00 PM

Beastie Boys

If ever a group screamed (and I mean screamed) novelty act, it was the Beastie Boys in 1986 when they crashed the hip-hop party with Licensed to Ill. But then this trio of beer-swilling in-your-face white boys went on to top the charts for seven weeks, a then-record for rap music. Three groundbreaking albums later, they have established themselves as auteurs of a sort, finessing their sonic mayhem by juxtaposing comic, often profane rhymes with rich, textured soundscapes. The brilliant Ill Communication can verge on the experimental, and it succeeds mightily with the funkified “Futterman’s Rule,” “Root Down” and “Alright Hear This.” The Beasties are one of the few bands capable of being both ridiculous and awe-inspiring in the same breath, and with Ill Communication they continue to have the last laugh. (Capitol)

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