Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway

The Woodentops

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Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway Review

by David Cleary

The Woodentops' 1988 album shows the group experimenting with different styles in their own eccentrically nervous way. "They Can Say What They Want" is best described as infectiously nerdy funk, while "Wheels Turning" is a lengthy song that's as close to a danceable number as the group ever produced. "In a Dream" is a manic, poppish, rap-tinged number, while "You Make Me Feel" is a capable selection that exhibits discreet country influences. Other experiments are less successful. "Heaven" is a slow, synthesizer-dominated number with gospel touches that is marred by a haphazardly jumbled text setting. "Tuesday Wednesday" is a bizarre folkish number with mild Latin coloration and odd beeping interjections. "What You Give Out" is a barely disguised ripoff of the Talking Heads song "The Great Curve" -- listenable, to be sure, but unbelievably derivative. For those hoping to find attractively manic, pure pop numbers like those on prior releases, there are two excellent examples here, "Maybe It Won't Last" and "Stop the Car." Production values are again intricate and often clever, though at times they seem at cross-purposes with the musical mood the band is trying to create. This album is not bad, though not on a par with previous releases.

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