Big Star founder Alex Chilton escaped hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, but apparently the masters for In Space
, the band's first studio album in 30 years, were lost in the flood. What else could explain this limp counterfeit now on the racks? Space
unfolds like a song-by-song study of what not
to do with the power-pop genre Chilton helped invent. "Lady Sweet" makes the style precious, the instrumental "Aria Largo" trudges, and "Love Revolution" ("Brothers and sisters! We need to get together! Create a manifesto!"
) is just awkward. Still, not every minute is drudging simulacra. "Dony" goes for trashy chick-lust with a grinding bass line, and drummer Jody Stephens is almost canny enough to make these halfhearted, copycat tunes groove. But pensive moments like "Best Chance We've Ever Had" are merely painful: "The people around us, well they'll never dare/The ones that are too blind are everywhere."
Um, OK, but if you record a concept album where the concept is tossing off the first couplets that come to mind, you might sing them as if you weren't bored with the enterprise. Chilton clearly is.