ALBUM REVIEW (***) : BOINGO, “Boingo” (<i> Giant</i> )

Shorten the name, lengthen the songs. Several tracks on this album run longer than seven minutes--one of them, “Change,” clocking in at a full 16! Aside from that tendency toward bloat, this is the best album by Danny Elfman and crew since, well, not long after they first shortened their name from the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo in the early ‘80s.

Elfman’s time in the Hollywood soundtrack mines has apparently been good for him, judging by the new ideas he brought to this album. Gone with the Oingo are his tired, sinister sneer, replaced by a warmer and more down-to-earth presence. Gone too are the horn section and the excessive frills of the old Boingo arrangements, giving way to a pared-down, guitar-rock attack. And the version of “I Am the Walrus” is such a Boingo natural it’s amazing they didn’t do it years ago.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).