If one thing can be gleaned from all the reviews generated by Urban Dance Squad's album "Mental Floss for the Globe," it's that just about any flattering reference to soul, hip-hop, rap, scratch, blues, heavy metal, British pop, reggae, punk, country twang, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix seems to fit.

"The perfect fusion for ... the nineties," one critic dubbed it, while another, more excitable scribe likened the group to "a musical guerrilla, with machine gun rhythms, whiplash raps, crushing guitar riffs, scratches, cuts and other tonal booby traps."

Michel "Magic Stick" Schoots, the drummer who will anchor the five-piece Amsterdam-based band when it performs at the 9:30 club tomorrow night, agrees that the music, like the band itself, is impossible to pigeonhole but easy to understand. As far as he's concerned, the group's strange brew is merely the happy consequence of five distinct personalities with eclectic and often divergent tastes getting together to form a band but with each member insisting on retaining his own individuality and input.

"We didn't start out as a band in high school or from a certain part of town," the 29-year-old drummer explains by phone from New Orleans, a stop on the Squad's current tour. "We just came together and jammed -- five people who didn't know each other. Suddenly we realized that we were all different but we had this incredible energy together. Then it became obvious that it would be impossible to make one style out of what we were doing. So each of us held on to our own styles. The guitarist {Tres Manos} was into R&B, the bass player {Silly Sil} was into funk, Rude Boy was a rapper influenced primarily by the Beatles, the turntable guy {DNA} was into scratch and acid-rock, and I was listening to a lot of punk and before that to rock bands like Thin Lizzy."

And there you have it.

Although funk-thrash and some of the other styles adopted by the Squad have made inroads in Holland as well as throughout Europe, Schoots insists it's hard to draw parallels between his band and its counterparts overseas.

"Right from the start we began mixing rap with acoustic music and turntable with drums, and people said you can't do that," he recalls. "You didn't see deejays working with bands when we started four years ago. It wasn't that we were out to do something new. It just came together that way. We used whatever we had and it seemed to work for us. It was different from the start."

And yet, Schoots points out, the Squad's genre- and culture-blending was very much a reflection of its Dutch environment. "Everyone knows that Amsterdam is an extremely liberal place, and not just when it comes to sex and drugs. Culturally it's more liberal too, and that helped nurture and support what we were doing. ... We're a multiracial band and we performed in front of multiracial audiences, so there was more open-mindedness about what we were doing. In the States you have white bands and white audiences or black bands and black audiences most of the time. But where we are from things are a lot less segregated -- the music and the people. That's why we had concerns about coming here, because we knew that we couldn't reflect just the white or just the black audience."

So far, Schoots reports, the band has been drawing mixed audiences throughout its American tour, even though many of the clubs generally cater to whites.

It helps, of course, that rapper Rude Boy, who was born in Surinam, north of Brazil, speaks fluent English. His frenzied commentaries are often spiked with topical and social barbs yet remain refreshingly free of the usual macho and sexist posturing. Because all the tunes on the album -- including the anti-drug theme "Big Apple" and the band's current single, "Deeper Shade of Soul" -- evolved during jams in or out of the studio, Schoots believes Rude Boy's lyrics are no more (or less) critical than any other contribution from a band member.

"We just get in a room together and make a lot of noise" is how Shoots characterizes the group's recording philosophy. "Whoever has the strongest thing to say usually shapes the song. It's extremely democratic and messy."

There is a downside to all the creative freedom, though. Occasionally the differences in taste and temperament become so obvious that Schoots admits he finds himself wondering how the band has managed to stay together this long.

"The possibility of a breakup is always there when you're dealing with the kind of personalities we have in this band. But then we start to play together and you sense how well all these strange people really fit together. That's when you begin to feel something very special and see a future for it."

Richard Harrington's On the Beat column will return.