[published]: 1984, April 28
[in]: Morning Call, p. 82
[article]: Records
[by]: Bob Sharpe

Of these two movie soundtrack albums, "Spinal Tap" is the weirdest. The movie, just released nationally, is a mock documentary directed by Bob Reiner (Archie Bunker's meathead son-in-law) about a British haevy metal band that never existed. The band itself is really a group of actors, who actually wrote and performed the album's songs (the lead singer is Michael McKean, who was Lenny the nerd on "Laverne & Shirley"). Film critics have said the movie is amusing. As for the music, some of it is quite decent, although it combines , although it combines all the cliches of heavy metal.

Maybe that says something about the originality of all hard-core metal. But most of the songs stink, almost to the point of appearing to be pnly sarcastic imitations of the heavy metal genre. Unlike other packaged bands (such as The Monkees, who had decent songwriting from the likes of Carole King and Neil Diamond), the material on "Spinal Tap" is too weak to stretch across an entire LP. And the novelty of teh Spinal Tap's parody on heavy metal bands quickly fades. Even a good joke isn't funny the second time you hear it.

Which brings us to "Up the Creek." How can you go wrong with an album that features, among others, Cheap Trick, Heart, The Beach Boys and Ian Hunter? Well, borrowing a phrase from one of Hunter's previous songs, nothing's wrong but nothing's right. "Up the Creek" is one of those teen-age sexploitation films, and like those films, the soundtrack teases but never satisfies. If you want to spend money on songs that would probably end up as filler material on these bands' albums, I have some prime real estate in the Florida Everglades that's for sale.