Picks and Pans Review: White Zone

UPDATED 05/21/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/21/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

Maggie Lee

A singer with the same kind of raw, energetic appeal as John Cougar Mellencamp, Lee, 25, is a hard rock 'n' roller with soft edges. She comes from Los Angeles, by way of Sioux Falls, S. Dak. It was in California that she met her ex-husband, Larry, leader of an LA band called the Scooters and, as he proves in this album, a bassist and composer of considerable resources. He also co-produced White Zone with Bill Drescher (who has previously worked with Rick Springfield and Tommy Tutone). They have turned out a light, infectious sound that blends some of the best touches of '50s rock—Maggie cites Buddy Holly as an early influence—and techno-pop, backed by multilayered vocal harmonies and a package of all-but-irresistible rhythmic devices. Maggie, who wrote all the lyrics for the 10 tunes (Larry, Tutone's Jim Keller and Teresa Straley did the music), is no threat to Randy I Newman or Elvis Costello as far as trenchant social comment goes. This is a literate kind of basic rock though; if the ideas are well-worn, the language shows some freshness. In My Life, Maggie sings, "So I walk the streets of Paris/London and in Rome/Yeah, it is so foreign over here/And I never want to go home." Vocally, she's versatile enough to put some passion on Fast Johnny. This album offers the enjoyment of discovering a talented new performer but, more important, it's about 35 minutes of just plain fun. (Columbia)

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