Leave it to a driven band like Living Colour to get overambitious making a six-song EP callled Biscuits. Timed to hit the market while the band takes part in the Lollapalooza tour, this hodgepodge of studio outtakes and live tracks is nothing less than a mini-tour of black music history. The band does a slow burn through Jimi Hendrix’s ”Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” and their strutting version of James Brown’s ”Talkin’ Loud and Saying Nothing” bridges ’70s funk and ’90s funk-metal, letting the occasionally clubfooted band lock into a groove. But two outtakes from their 1990 album, Time’s Up — a rendition of Al Green’s supple ”Love & Happiness” and a sardonic original, ”Money Talks,” which takes a few well-deserved swipes at the music biz — are both mired in overly busy arrangements that feature too much of Vernon Reid’s machine-gun guitar. As on Time’s Up, the band seems to be working too hard to impress us with their chops, when simple musicality would suffice. Living Colour may indeed be successors to Hendrix and Brown, but they need to make their biscuits with a simpler recipe. B
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