David Browne
January 11, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

A Night On Earth

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
genre
Instrumental

We gave it a B-

This Texas-based quartet has a natural, infectious love for any and all folk-dance idioms, from polka to tango. During their live shows, even the most jaded rock fans find themselves dancing. But Brave Combo’s records always betray them. On A Night on Earth, leader Carl Finch and his bandmates mix and match a bewildering array of musical styles in their usual merry way. There is a hopped-up Israeli folk dance; a silly bossa nova; a clarinet-driven polka; some garage-rock rumba; a cha-cha version of ”Hey There,” from the Broadway show The Pajama Game; even a shot at somber themes (a catalog of paranoid fears called ”What Is This Darkness?”). Each song balances the agile chops of serious musicians with the merriment of a party band. Yet each still tends to reduce the group to a novelty act. Without its concert shenanigans, the band merely sounds campy. So where’s that Brave Combo concert video? B-

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