David Browne
February 07, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Acoustic Motorbike

Current Status
In Season
Luka Bloom

We gave it a C+

Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom lives in another age — a time when coffeehouses were crammed with folkies who sang earnest ballads and scolded the System, all the while fervently strumming their guitars. It’s a noble tradition, but Acoustic Motorbike, Bloom’s second album, makes it seem like a drag. The songs are often one-dimensional, humorless, and somewhat heavy-handed; when he starts one song with an allusion to deep-sea diving, you sense it’s actually a metaphor for his own, er, ”dark places.” And indeed it is. The protest songs (”Listen to the Hoof Beat,” about Native Americans) are a little too strident, the ballads a little too banal in their imagery. Bloom’s most audacious move is a straight-faced cover of L.L. Cool J’s rap ballad ”I Need Love,” complete with gently thumping Celtic drum and fiddle. Stripped down to such a bare-bones arrangement, it’s easy to hear what an innately melodic song ”I Need Love” is, and how seductive its lyrics are. That it’s the most striking cut on the album only serves to pinpoint Bloom’s deficiencies. C+

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