worth wading through

North Hollywood (Discovery)

By Kory Wilcoxson

Slush is a hit-or-miss band. When they are on, their music is tight, powerful and enjoyable. But when they try too hard to be cool, they fall flat on their faces. This makes North Hollywood an uneven, but sometimes brilliant, album.

This Jeckyll-Hyde syndrome plagues the record throughout, but luckily for Slush, there's more of Jeckyll than Hyde. By the time we reach the third track, "Cocoon," the band is primed and ready. The songwriting of vocalist/guitarist Johnne Peters is crisp, and his playing is excellent. Judging from his rugged vocals and the band's rich sound, they must put on quite a stage show.

"Cocoon" is followed by "So Volatile" and "Catastrophe Supreme," the album's best and most radio-ready track. But things get a little forced on "Tenderness" and especially on "Amoeba," which sounds like it was written by a one-celled animal, instead of being about one. Likewise, "Another Frankenstein" is too contrived to be enjoyed, despite the band's inspired execution.

Overall, North Hollywood is a potent album, and Slush comes close to resembling the Cult at their best. If you can put up with a bit of heavy-handedness every few songs, North Hollywood is well worth the investment.