Test For Echo

Not Rated

It's double-standard time. Rock snobs have been beating up on Rush for years, mostly on account of the assiduously designed pomp and metaphysical polemics in the band's art rock and the scraped-blackboard shiver in bassist Geddy Lee's vocals. Meanwhile, Porno boss and alterna-bon vivant Perry Farrell lays on the expressionist waffle with a trowel and sings like a scalded tabby — and he's a New Rock god.

Actually, for all of his hallucinatory airs and stylistic caprice, Farrell is a plain-spoken romantic realist and a surprisingly disciplined songwriter. On Good God's Urge, he grounds his dream-pop larks with melodic clarity and heft, and leaves out, for the most part, the Jane's Addiction-redux squawk that marred Porno's first album. "Tahitian Moon" is kinetic, straightforward fun, and there is nothing postmodern (thank God) about Farrell's generous declaration of amour in "100 Ways."

As for Rush, anyone who thinks the three Canadians are irrelevant arena-rock hags isn't paying attention to Primus' Metallica-meets-2112 moves or the serious '70s-art-rock undercurrent of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and the buffed guitar and synthesizer contours of Test for Echo are welcome relief from the bland din of modern-rock celebrities like Dishwalla.