February 14, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A

This band comes from the same stable as Living Colour and 24-7 Spyz, an organization called the Black Rock Coalition that aims to prove musicians can play whatever style of music they desire. Yet ”black rock” only scratches the surface of the band’s terrific music. On Eye & I, their debut cannonball, the band can make a joyful funk-metal racket. With Gary Poulson’s snaky guitar leading the way, they pump and wail, tossing in a bit of jazz piano here or sax there for extra texture. Still, Eye & I isn’t a drab Living Colour clone band like Follow For Now. In lead singer D.K. Dyson, the band has a full-fledged pop diva who nonetheless knows restraint; her warm voice swoops and soars around the songs but never overpowers them. And what songs: From the hook-laden pop of ”Can’t Live Without Your Love” to a riffy, hard-rock version of Lou Reed’s S&M ode ”Venus in Furs” to cushiony ballads that should make Anita Baker consider retirement, the group plays hard but, unlike many current funk & roll bands, never throws melody to the wind. The result makes for an audacious, exhilarating album that tackles you, grabs you by the collar — and then smiles in your face. A

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