The Boston Phoenix
June 3 - 10, 1999

[Music Reviews]

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**1/2 Hellacopters

GRANDE ROCK

(Sub Pop)

Hellacopters It's kind of a shame that most stateside listeners are gonna hear this slab -- the 'copters' first brush with mediocrity -- before hearing 1997's tour de force Payin' the Dues, which won't get a US release until later this year. As it is, anyone who picked up the now three-year-old Supershitty to the Max after it was re-released by Man's Ruin last year is likely to be baffled by the Swedes' transformation from purveyors of Motörhead/Stooges/Kiss punk to the looser, Southern-boogie-accented hayseedisms on Grande. In the past the 'copters have been big enough MC5 fans to cover two Sonic's Rendezvous Band tracks and tasteful enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then, earlier this year, on the Respect the Rock USA EP, they went cropdusting on Skynyrd's "Working for MCA," tried Bob Seger's "Her Strut" for size, and veered dangerously close to Black Crowes airspace on a version of Wilson Pickett's "A Man and a Half." Perhaps more troubling, they're already beginning to recycle themselves. "Move Right Out of Here" and "Paul Stanley" -- a third rewrite of the 'copters' own "(Gotta Get Some Action) Now!" -- are competent but nowhere near the liver-pickling wallop the band are capable of. "Welcome to Hell" is their fourth or fifth cop of "Sympathy for the Devil," and not nearly as good as their new Sub Pop single "Down Right Blue," which eclipses everything on Grande and restores hope for the future.

-- Carly Carioli
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