The Goo Goo Dolls are one of those unlucky bands who are a lot better than fair but not much more than pretty good. Like that of their latitudinal compatriots Soul Asylum and the Replacements, the Buffalo threesome’s output teems with hooks and swelling choruses, and boasts both dynamic song construction and an assaultive guitar attack. They’re occasionally goofy–as their romp with the Lime Spiders’ “Slave Girl” on the new A Boy Named Goo attests–and wouldn’t know how to spell pretentious, much less be it. They don’t think it’s their business to try to change the world or carry a big psychic weight on their shoulders. Only problem is, they don’t really do anything else. Their one attempt at a major statement and by far the new album’s best song is “Flat Top,” a somewhat superficial blast at a “tabloid generation.” It includes the lines “Sleeping on the White House lawn / Ain’t never changed a thing / Look at all the washed up hippie dreams,” which, if I’m reading them correctly as a slam at 60s protesters, amount to as callow a pronouncement as they’re professing to deplore. All this just means that the band isn’t great–not too many other outfits rock this hard and tunefully; hHead open. Tuesday, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Dennis Keeley.