Picks and Pans Review: Belinda

updated 06/23/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/23/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Belinda Carlisle

It remains to be seen whether Carlisle needs the rest of the Go-Gos for image purposes. Musically she should have no trouble forging right along, since she sounds as peppy and wholesomely sexy on her own as she did with the band. Not that the Go-Gos are exactly gone. Three-fifths of them show up on this record, with guitarist Charlotte Caffey and backup singer Jane Wiedlin standing by their pal. At its best, on such tracks as Shot in the Dark, I Feel the Magic and Mad About You, the album shows off Carlisle at her best, which is as a neo-'60s woman singer—sweet and man-hungry. It's no accident that Carlisle's version of the 1970 Freda Payne hit Band of Gold sounds so much more convincing than Bonnie Tyler's new cover. Vulnerability was never Tyler's strong point, but it's an essential part of Carlisle's sound, which is based as much on her girlish attitude as on a voice that is serviceable but hardly spectacular. Producer Mike Lloyd helped Carlisle maintain another of the Go-Gos' qualities, the ability to evoke the sound of early rock without seeming to parody it, and the songs are melodically satisfying. They're not all that deep—Shot in the Dark contains the lines "Who'd ever believe/ I'd ever see the edge of your tan." Then again, nobody expected Carlisle to bounce right into Kurt Weill. What she has done instead is make a smooth, entertaining transition to solo status. (I.R.S.)

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