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I’m sure ZZ Top die-hards are gonna jump all over my ass for the following remark—assuming, of course, the lot of ’em aren’t pleasantly blacked-out instead of reading this—but here goes: Despite zealous cries for their inclusion among the rock ‘n’ roll elite, the Bearded Boys Plus One are nothing more than an average-to-good bar band that makes people drink lots of beer. But just so the fine people at Anheuser-Busch don’t put a hit out on me for taking potshots at their patron saints, let’s add this: When Billy, Dusty, and Frank feel like writing pop hooks (e.g., “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Legs”), their music can be 40 ounces of fun and catchy as hell. Unfortunately, Rhythmeen, ZZ Top’s first album since 1994’s platinum Antenna, is nearly void of sing-along zip, floundering in the generic world of blasé guitar solos and uninspired drumming. Supposedly, this album marks a return to the bluesy ol’ days, but with the exception of the cool, infectious “What’s Up With That” and the creepy soloing on “Vincent Price Blues,” most of Rhythmeen’s 12 tracks are sadly gutless. At least the boys aren’t so far gone that they forgot to include one of their trademark naughty numbers: “Zipper Job,” with its talk of a “Tijuana tuck and roll,” is wild raunch from the band that used to bring it best.—Sean Daly