ALBUM REVIEW : * * 1/2 URGE OVERKILL; "Exit the Dragon"; Geffen

"Exit the Dragon" is a perfect title for Urge Overkill's fifth album, whose fab pop tunes are as cheesily amusing as a dubbed karate movie.

But when the kitsch clears, you have to wonder whether the band, which hit fame in the past year for its rendition of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon" in "Pulp Fiction," has anything of its own to offer.

"Exit" steals ideas from '70s AM hits that originally stole from sources like the Beatles and Hendrix. Groovy guitar riffs, shaking tambourines and Partridge Family keyboards put Urge's album somewhere between the mystery of "Jackie Blue" and the sugary sweetness of "A Little in Love."

While the songs are initially entertaining, they aren't nearly as catchy as the original hits. It's also beginning to feel as if the band is taking itself a little too seriously. The band gives it all it's got with an Eddie Vedder-like earnestness: "Beware the overdose," they warn, "Not long for this life." They might add: "Don't become a parody of yourself."

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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