Living Colour's Time Tunnel seeks to validate the band's deserved image as thoughtful, committed musicians who know their sadly unique niche as the only African-American hard-rock group on a major label. But though Living Colour is one of the more heartening musical phenomena of recent years, this tape is about as meaningful as, say, Lionel Richie's The Making of ''Dancing on the Ceiling.''
The format is simple the guys in the group sit around a studio talking, intercut with indifferently shot performance footage from club gigs and the band's recent tour with the Rolling Stones. The music is wonderful; Living Colour's eccentric mélange of heavy metal, pop/rock, and fusion/avant-garde jazz is one of the more interesting sounds around. So you'd expect something more provocative than standard road-crew shots, of the sort parodied in This Is Spinal Tap, but that's just about all director Bruce Leddy delivers.
In the end, this tape hasn't much to offer anyone other than die-hard fans of the artist. With occasional exceptions, this is par for the music-video course. These days, pop videos seem to have devolved into unrepentant visual clichés and product-pushing. Perhaps that art vs. escapism battle has been decided after all. C