Picks and Pans Review: El Debarge

updated 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

El DeBarge

On his first solo album poor El gets caught in a heavy knob-twisting contest. Producers Peter Wolf, Jay Graydon and Robbie Buchanan, each responsible for at least two tracks, try to outbrazen each other in the booth, leaving El buried beneath an avalanche of synthesizer sounds. That's a shame because, as he established in his work with the rest of the DeBarge family, El has a sweet, graceful voice, vastly superior to Michael Jackson's when it comes to pretty boy vocals. El does get to slather his dulcet tones over the slower songs on this album, such as Love Always. The talents he exhibits on those tracks make it easy to forgive a lot of the studio bluster and dull material that mar this record; one hopes it will lead to better things. (Gordy)

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