Having recorded Boys in rural Ireland and Louisiana, Amos obviously had a lot of time to overthink these 18 songs, burying any messages under quasi-symbolic excess so deep that it seems pointless to excavate it. The music wanders restlessly in a series of non sequiturs, Amos pausing only periodically to admire her own cleverness. The next time Amos tries cliff-diving, she might consider taking someone else with her on the leap: She's in desperate need of an outsider's levelheaded input.

-- Hobart Rowland

The Makers

Art Chantry's spare cover art for the new Makers LP features a Xerox of a fist with its middle finger cranked skyward. That's a perfect image for the sort of music made by these snot-nosed, cock-of-the-walk proto-punks: glorious psychotic reactions lasting no more than a minute and a half apiece. Though The Makers is the Spokane group's third full-length platter for Estrus (following the like-minded releases Howl and All Night Riot!!), there's little use in charting their development. As someone once said of Naugahyde and aluminum baseball bats, the Makers are a pimple on the ass of progress.

Which is not to overemphasize the benefits of advancement. The Makers revel in the "dangerous" sounds of the guitar combos of the early 1960s, groups like the Sonics, Seeds, and Trashmen, who constituted the aural equivalent of stimulants and switchblades. Though they call themselves Mike, Tim, Don, and Jay Maker, it's tough to imagine one mother putting up with a brood as incorrigible as this. If the lyrics to unbound caveman anthems like "I'm Not a Social Kind of Guy" and "Angry Young Man" leave anything to the imagination, vocalist Mike Maker's sneering delivery obliterates any lingering doubts about his compatriots' composite worldview. In their liner notes, the Makers mockingly thank "bands like Blur ... cheerleaders ... Simon Le Bon ... and all the clubs that ripped us off and/or kicked us out," among other targets. Any takers?

The Makers play Sat, Feb. 10, at the Kilowatt in S.F.; call 861-2595.
-- James Sullivan

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