June 01, 1987 12:00 PM

The The

The soullessness of modern urban life seems to be the source of the infection in question, but in the remedy department all this British synth-pop band offers on its third LP are bitter pills. This is club music steeped in angst and anger, but despite its great energy, only rarely does it transcend the gloom it scorns. While some of composer-vocalist Matt Johnson’s ceaseless wordplay works (“Well, it’s high noon at the U.K. corral”), he runs his rhymes ragged and, somewhat in the fashion of Tom Waits, talks as much as he sings. One track, Heartland, profits from an eerily seductive, heavily orchestrated melody and ironic lyrics (“Here comes another winter, waitin’ for Utopia/ Waitin’ for hell to freeze over”). The rest is to take or leave. (Epic)

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