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White Williams Smoke

Joe Williams’ music is fit for a sports bar and a student co-op basement party, and he rocks that odd duality on Smoke. The smooth-rock opener, “Headlines,” treads half-drunk through a swimming pool, but is catchy enough to advertise steakhouses on TV. Williams revives glam sleaze on “In the Club” and his amusing cover of “I Want Candy,” in which he mopes while using a pub’s urinal. He also has a sharp ear for groove, as shown on the Neu-meets-Bowie excursion “New Violence” and the title track’s contorted P-funk. Smoke curiously ends in discord where a Game Boy melody screeches in “Lice in the Rainbow.” Nonetheless, Williams is off to a healthy start (just avoid viewing one of the decade’s tackiest album covers).

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