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BLUE HIPPOS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Blue Hippos (Twin/Tone) 1987
Forty Forty (Twin/Tone) 1988
OTTO'S CHEMICAL LOUNGE
Spillover (Homestead) 1985

On the seven-song Blue Hippos, this Twin Cities trio, led by singer/guitarist Paul Osby (late of Otto's Chemical Lounge), wavers between garage thrash and tentative funk, with competent but unexceptional results. Forty Forty sounds more confident, and shows a somewhat greater mastery of funk dynamics, but the band still lacks the musical and/or lyrical bite that would give its R&B appropriations more authority.

Like the Blue Hippos' discs, the longplaying release by Otto's Chemical Lounge (with Osby as guitarist and songwriter but not lead vocalist) fails to capture on vinyl what was reputedly a powerful live act. The eight-song, 22-minute disc is basically competent but pedestrian indie guitar rock with avant-gardsy pretensions. The jams don't go anywhere in particular, and the covers of Johnny Kidd and the Flamin Groovies are flat and obvious. Grant Hart sings backup on three songs.

[Scott Schinder]