June 09, 1997 12:00 PM

Radish

Ben Kweller, the precocious 15-year-old lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of this Greenville, Texas, trio, is living a rockin’ teen’s dream: He has a million-dollar record deal and was featured in The New Yorker as the potential heir to Bruce Springsteen and Kurt Cobain. Not bad for someone just old enough to obtain a learner’s permit.

But does Radish’s debut hold up to the hype? Well, no—but it’s not a botch either. Restraining Bolt’s dozen cuts are robust sugar metal, melodic songs abuzz with six-string pyrotechnics and teen-pleasing lyrics about unrequited love, making music and being a nerd.

But Radish’s sound is less an original one than a collage of its teen song-writer’s influences: upbeat Beatles-like melodies pasted beside downcast introspection like that of the pop-punk band Weezer. Ultimately, it’s hard to picture Radish as the Next Big Thing. (Mercury)

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