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INXS `GREATEST’ SHOWS OFF GROUP’S SOFTER-SIDE HITS

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For INXS, it all came together in 1985 - that driving, danceable beat, guitars and even the sax in synergy with the pounding percussion, generating waves of inexorable rhythm and nebulous melody.

"What You Need," from "Listen Like Thieves," was exactly what the world wanted, and this talented Australian band was able to deliver creative variations on that energetic theme: "Need You Tonight," "New Sensation," "Suicide Blonde" and the Mephistophelean bolero "Devil Inside."It didn't hurt that, along with their proficiency as a unit, the three Farriss brothers, the versatile Kirk Pengilly and bassist Garry Gary Beers were fronted by the charismatic Michael Hutchence. He projected a "new wave" aura somewhere between the Doors' Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger, but really his sense of style is all his own. Nor did it hurt that, with director Richard Lowenstein, they became one of THE premier bands of the MTV era. Their videos, always eye-catching, have often been propelled as much by special effects as by that overall INXS panache.

"The Greatest Hits" is precisely that - as long as you're American. The earliest Australian smashes, such as "Just Keep Walking" and "The Loved One," are not included. Instead, "The One Thing" and the racially charged "Original Sin" serve as the developmental prologues to "What You Need." Nor does "Need You Tonight" lead into "Mediate," the familiar segue from video and album, and a few other favorites, "Not Enough Time" being one, are missing as well.

But the anthology nicely shows off INXS' breadth with softer hits like the big ballad "Never Tear Us Apart" and "Beautiful Girl," with its Lou Reed shadings. The requisite new cuts on the album are the appropriate "The Strangest Party (These Are the Times)," which more than verges on industrial psychedelia, and "Deliver Me," a sort of "Son of `New Sensation" with Stones-ish overtones.

"The Greatest Hits" is a reminder that the past decade was made a lot more musically interesting because of this vital band from Down Under.

INXS; "The Greatest Hits," including The One Thing, Original Sin, What You Need, Listen Like Thieves, Shine Like It Does, Need You Tonight, Devil Inside, New Sensation, Never Tear Us Apart, Suicide Blonde, Disappear, The Stairs, Heaven Sent, Beautiful Girl, The Strangest Party (These Are the Times) and Deliver Me.