Originally created 08/06/99

Space-aged effects create interesting sound

Powerman 5000

Tonight the Stars Revolt! (Dreamworks) **

Like their spacey, sci-fi-obsessed contemporaries Man or Astroman, the members of Powerman 5000 sport cryptic monikers such as Spider One, Al 3, Adam 12 and M 33.

Powerman 5000's Tonight the Stars Revolt! -- which features cameos by Rob Zombie, Limp Bizkit's D.J. Lethal and Marilyn Manson's Ginger Fish -- rocks like a harder edged, ticked off Devo crossed with Nine Inch Nails.

As first heard on When Worlds Collide, singer Spider One warbles reminiscent of late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, when he's not screaming Zombielike.

The Hutchence-like timbre is back on part of Nobody's Real, but the track has a catchier groove than anything on the record and is definitely the standout.

With space-aged effects, commendably crunchy guitar riffs, and spoken passages, the sonic offerings are sometimes interesting, especially on the remake of the Cars' classic Good Times Roll.

But the 13 songs on Tonight the Stars Revolt! are ultimately indistinguishable from one another and worse -- forgettable.

Titles like System 11:11, The Son of X-51, Operate, Annihilate and the title track make one long for metal of yore when horny guys sang about fast cars and chicks.

Danger Will Robinson, avoid this disc!

Trina & Tamara

Trina & Tamara (C2Records) ***

It's refreshing to hear women in R&B writing and performing their own material, as do sisters Trina & Tamara on their self-titled debut album.

The disc's second track, Nothin' New, tells of a guy trying to claim that a female is "just a friend," but it can also be read as a jab at the sample-heavy, trend-hopping world of modern R&B.

"There's nothing new under the sun/seen everything/it's already been done," the sisters sing.

Trina & Tamara are sisters of R&B singer Jessie and have worked with Brandy, Deborah Cox and Heavy D. They haven't reinvented the wheel, but they incorporate smooth sounds of old school R&B while leaving in the '90s penchant for attitude and intricate, herky-jerky rhythms.

Joanne is a warning to a man-hungry woman, complete with a rundown of the offender's trampy clothes.

29 is a fresh take on a crush, as the girls apparently obsess about a football player who wears No. 29 on his jersey. "His number is 29/I met him on the 50 yard-line/I want to wear his diamond ring/Call me crazy, but I'm 'bout to jump in," they sing.

At a total running time barely longer than 40 minutes, Trina & Tamara comes up a bit short. But at least they don't wear out their welcome.

Tina & Tamara is a promising debut that might launch the sisters into crossover stardom along the lines of Brandy, Monica and TLC.

-- Kent Kimes

Sound bite

To hear part of Powerman 5000's song Good Times Roll, from the CD Tonight the Stars Revolt! call Infoline at 442-4444 and dial 8101.

To hear part of Trina & Tamara's song 29, from the CD Trina & Tamara, call Infoline at 442-4444 and dial 8102.


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