Welcome to Wherever You Are

INXS’ slow-and-steady move to world domination seems to have stalled: The band’s last studio album, the rather disappointing ”X,” just didn’t hit the zeitgeist as did 1987’s Kick, with its sultry smash, ”Need You Tonight.” Dumping longtime producer Chris Thomas, the Aussie sextet has taken over the boards (with a little help from Mark Opitz) for Welcome to Wherever You Are and proved that, well, it can produce a record like ”X” on its own. After an opening bit of psychedelic foofaraw, ”Questions,” these friendly hard-rockers demonstrate what they’re capable of, with the full-tilt, ringing ”Heaven Sent” — as potent a track as they have ever recorded. But nothing else is that compelling. There’s a ”Need You Tonight” retread called ”Strange Desire” and a very noticeable lag on what in the pre-CD age would be called side two. The band ends up taking refuge in novelty: on a bombastic, Tom Jones-ish free-for-all, ”Baby Don’t Cry,” complete with a brassy 60-piece orchestra, and on a moody thing called ”Men and Women.” Neither is a total failure, but there’s just not a strong enough rock & roll base on the album to support their pretensions. B-

Welcome to Wherever You Are
  • Music