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Soho's Goddess focuses on dance, not lyrics



Atco Records.


SOHO, THE PEOPLE WHO RIPPED OFF the Smiths with the runaway hit, "Hippychick," are currently touring the United States with Jesus Jones, pushing their new album, Goddess. A previous album, Noise, released on Virgin Records and considered too embarrassing by Soho, never reached American shores.

The London-based Soho comprises guitarist/songwriter Timothy Brinkhurst, his girlfriend, Jacqueline Cuff, and her identical twin sister, Pauline, formed in 1982 under their original name Groovalax (taken from a Funkadelic track). After a series of line-up changes, Soho, or Timothy London and the Soho Sisters, emerged in 1987, and the Cuff sisters promptly resigned their jobs as psychiatric nurses.

Much of Soho's current success can be attributed to the top single "Hippychick," identifiable by its sample from the popular Smiths song, "How Soon is Now." On the strength of that one song alone, Soho was signed to Atco Records after being dropped by Virgin. "Hippychick" raced up both alternative and Top 40 charts in late 1990 and caused a sensation in dance clubs.

Actually, there seem to be a number of samples on Goddess. I would like to see some liner notes on them. On this album, Soho supposedly combines punk, country, rock, reggae, soul and psychedelia with dance rhythms. The lyrics, according to Brinkhurst, reflect the strong-minded women of the 1990s.

"Love Generation," for anyone seeking a revival of 1960s mentality, sets off the album with many shrill notes. At one point, the music fades out completely and then comes back in for no purpose. It's basically annoying.

More subdued stuff, except for "Another Year," an awful bit of sentimental gush, seems to fare better. "Out of My Mind," a song about a woman who is unsatisfied with her man, is loose and funky. "Nuthin' on My Mind" exudes a bright, breezy quality.

"Goddess," like "Love Generation" and "Boy '90," is clearly dance-oriented, even after a slow reverie through the names of female role models. "Zombie Walk the Cardboard City," an instrumental, is similar to the beginning of "Goddess." Frenetic "Freaky" might do well with the House crowd.

The moronic "Shake Your Thing" with its exotic theme repeats the line "shake your thing -- you've got nothing to lose" ad nauseum. The B-52s could do better. "Girl on a Motorcycle" is plodding, and "God's Little Joke" can be easily dismissed.

For all their hype, Soho has got an album that will probably delight somebody . . . as long as they like mindless dance music.