ALBUM REVIEWS / POP

** Black Grape, "It's Great When You're Straight . . . Yeah," Radioactive/MCA. After a 2 1/2-year hiatus, former Happy Mondays leader Shaun Ryder is back with Black Grape, which generates a similar blend of contemporary dance grooves, vintage funk and trippy psychedelic overtones. Though it comes off a bit earthier (a little more Sly Stone than Stone Roses), it basically shares all the same strengths and weaknesses as Happy Mondays--relentlessly festive danceability that wallows smugly in its own cleverness.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (e x cellent).

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