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Crach Test Dummies

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Don't be fooled by that killer single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"; the Crash Test Dummies, from Winnipeg, are an acquired taste. The band's very weird first album, The Ghosts That Haunt Me, was hokey and kind of countryesque. Now the band, which is primarily distinguished by songwriter Brad Roberts's unapologetic basso, is playing spaciously produced pop music and, indeed, has a hit with that hummingly titled song from its second album, God Shuffled His Feet. When it comes to lyrics Roberts is a one-trick pony--almost invariably his pose is that of a naif who marvels at the odd and enveloping wonders of nature: "Well take my fingers, what do fingers really mean to me?" (He also seems to be unaware of laws on the books in many states against references to "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in pop songs.) It all gets old fairly quickly, so you try to lose yourself in the dummy's--er, the Dummies--music instead. That "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" is some song: all lilting guitars and piano, it manages to add some humor and depth to that wide-eyed wonder. (If you haven't made out the words yet, the tune's about how people get into wacko religious stuff because there's so much gosh-darn weirdness in the world.) Unfortunately, there's nothing else as musically charming on the album. So why care about the Dummies? Well, there's something poignant about that ultradeep voice of Roberts's: it's a thoroughly unsuitable instrument for rock 'n' roll, but he makes it work. That's what his songs are about, really: you can have a funny voice, basically be a dope, and still write a great single and get your face all over MTV. Isn't life amazing? Wednesday, 7 PM, Avalon Niteclub, 959 W. Belmont; 472-3020.

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