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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : BRIGHT BRAINS

Foot-long dreadlocks flying, the members of the Washington-based quartet Bad Brains rocketed around the Roxy stage on Sunday night with all the white-hot intensity you might expect from the hardcore movement’s biggest, best ‘n’ brightest black punk-rock band.

Much like the early Clash, Bad Brains breaks the near speed-metal monotony with forays into reggae, as evidenced by the title track of the group’s latest SST album “I Against I” and--on Sunday night --by a spliffy version of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper.” However, it’s the band’s all-too-infrequent attempts to fuse these two styles that provide, if not the most potent musical moments, certainly the most interesting signposts for the future.

The dark, metallic, monolithic funk-punk of San Francisco’s Faith No More and the thick black curds of industrial-weight sonic sludge from ex-Black Flag ax-man Greg Ginn’s all-instrumental power trio Gone preceded Bad Brains, keeping the excitement level down to a dull throb.


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