Inner Revolution

Like a knavish kitchen hand shaving slivers from a block of cheese, guitarist and singer-songwriter Belew has, over the years, pilfered shreds of ideas from former associates like David Byrne and David Bowie — front men to whom he has played the adventuresome guitar sidekick. That’s no great sin, particularly since Belew has usually steered away from insufferable artsy-fartsiness with his cockeyed humor. But on 1990’s over-serious Young Lions, Belew seemed to be bucking for the title of postmodern sage/guitar hero; Inner Revolution is far more relaxed. Belew’s guitar sounds fine here: He often tempers its brightness so his playing gleams just a little, like rust-speckled chrome. And even when he takes to the pulpit (”Only a Dream”) or engages in overweighted wordplay (”The War in the Gulf Between Us”), his irresistible melodies and lucid harmonies help hold things together. Lines like ”If you get on a plane, say, for New Orleans, and you land in smithereens/Don’t call me, ’cause I’ll be undercover with the girl of my dreams” (from ”I’d Rather Be Right Here”) show that he’s also mastered the craft of the dizzy yet utterly charming pop song — no mean feat for an artiste. B

Inner Revolution
  • Music