KEKE WYATT
Soul Sista
(MCA)
**

Calling your album "Soul Sista" is kinda like calling yourself the Pope. And it's especially audacious for a first-time artist, as in the case of Keke Wyatt, whose only claim to fame was once being a member in an extremely early incarnation of Destiny's Child. Regardless, the girl does have a voice. It's smooth, soulful, and she doesn't overdo the vocal pyrotechnics, which is always a relief in today's bombastic R&B world. However, the problem with this particular disc lies in its "radio-friendly" nature. While any of these tunes would easily slip into rotation at 95.5, not a one takes any chances. Even the dance-club single "Used to Love" never provides the lift-off needed to fill the dance floor. So if KeKe is gonna be calling herself "Soul Sista" she needs to start steppin' up--or she might as well just step on back. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

RABIES CASTE
Let the Soul Out and Cut the Vein

(Earache)
**

I'm a sucker for hardcore anytime, but I'm pretty skeptical of bands with names as dumb as Rabies Caste. They should pick out an alternative from our crappy band names suggestion list (see pg 5)--like Dead Baby for Dinner. Anyhow, Rabies Caste is well produced and includes three talented musicians--the bassist being the most concise and noticeable, especially since the music is super bass-heavy. They play the real slow, headbang hardcore, and the vocalist sings strictly through this voice doubling-effected microphone. It dilutes that scratchy hardcore yell and turns it into a song-stealing, industrial, video game monster voice which, after enough songs, loses its kitsch value and becomes annoying. RC would do wonders for any hardcore compilation CD--but the ten songs on Let the Soul Out are too many. KATIE SHIMER

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Lunch with a Bouncing Space vol. II

(A Bouncing Space)
**

This is a compilation CD of a bunch of bands, and unfortunately, that's about the only consistency I can see throughout the album. There's a lot of pop, some hippie music, and a Cure cover ("Catch") by some indiepoppers (Lenola). One of the best songs is by the Sauvie Island Moon Rocket Factory ("Old Salt"), who are, at best, cute and harmonious with their melodies and, at worst, kind of like the Beatles, but off-pitch. Another highlight is The Dandelion Clocks ("Closing Time"). I think I might even buy a whole album of this woman's voice, which is complicated and sweet, and does something I rarely think is possible--sounds really good, recorded, with only an acoustic guitar. Then there are some other things on this CD, which are not as good. KATIA DUNN