David Browne
February 21, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Little Village

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
Producers
Reprise Records
genre
Rock

We gave it a B

John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner — respectively a critically revered singer-songwriter, a roots- guitar god, a cult-favorite bassist-songwriter, and a session drummer to geezer-rock legends — couldn’t have picked a better name for their ad hoc group. An album of small pleasures, both musically and thematically, Little Village is no great shakes — and they wouldn’t have it any another way. Kicking off with a loopy boogie about the positive effects of going bald (”Solar Sex Panel”), the music is casual and relaxed; you can almost hear the quartet ! playing video games in the studio between takes, and the songs, driven by Cooder’s rough-hewn slide guitar and Hiatt’s rangy, occasionally mannered singing, mostly impart self-deprecating middle-aged wisdom (as on ”Fool Who Knows”). The result is basically a pleasant vacation — and one that, like all such recreations, may be nothing more than a vague memory once the principals get back to the real world. B

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