The trilogy that began with Patti Smith's remarkable 1996 comeback album Gone Again concludes with the intriguing if erratic Gung Ho.
On Gone Again and its 1997 follow-up Peace and Noise, Smith re-established herself as one of the most vital rock 'n' roll poets of a generation. The problem with this set though is that it gets bogged down during several droning songs late in the album ? especially the grating 11-minute-plus title track that closes the disc.
Nevertheless, Smith also delivers her fair share of exhilarating moments. Of particular note is the pounding lead single "Glitter in Their Eyes," which features Television's Tom Verlaine on guitar and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. on backing vocals. The organ-laced "Lo and Beholden," with harp courtesy of Rose English, and the rhythm-driven "Gone Pie," which Smith sings with primal passion, also give the disc a lift. There's a definite lack of consistency, but even when she's fading in and out, Patti Smith is still more compelling than the vast majority of current artists.