an all-star quartet composed of John and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran, singer Robert Palmer and drummer Tony Thompson, formerly of Chic -- is being billed as a supergroup, but this group is mostly superficial.
Although the idea was to fuse several strata of contemporary styles, from Palmer's cool light soul to the upscale rhythm and grooves of Chic, the net result, as exemplified on "33 1/3," verges on caricature, in large part because the players seldom connect with one another, much less one another's styles.
Thompson holds up his end, driving the beat with brutal authority while producer and fellow Chic alumnus Barnard Edwards gives the sound punch to spare. But Palmer, with his husky voice and choppy, anxious phrasing, rasps haplessly against the groove, sounding neither sexy nor soulful. (Perhaps Michael DesBarres, appearing on tour with the group instead of Palmer, will change that.) As for the Duranees, their performance is so negligible that they might as well have been studio extras.
Because nothing ever clicks inside the group, the music seems stillborn. Edwards livens things up a bit with a snappy horn arrangement for "Murderess" and adds some clever tape effects to the opening of "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," but that's too little, too late.
THE POWER STATION -- "33 1/3" (Capitol SJ-12380), appearing Friday at Merriweather Post Pavilion.