Picks and Pans Review: Rumania

updated 09/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nuns

Record buyers are so used to weirdness that it's difficult to surprise them. But this second album by the Nuns still seems genuinely odd, not because it is offensive—though it might be that too—but because it includes such an unexpected combination of musical styles and ideas. Lead singer Jennifer Miro sounds almost identical to Debbie Harry except that her voice has more sweetness. Jeff Olener, who wrote many of the LP's songs with Miro, belongs to the Lou Reed/Leonard Cohen school of sing-talking. When the two of them perform together, it's hard to believe they're from the same planet, let alone the same band. Then there's the Nuns' music, which falls into the '60s garage-band category, with thin, simple organ-and-guitar arrangements. It's a Dream and Rumania feature gentle soft-rock melodies. But the lyrics sound tailor-made for heavy metal, going on about monsters, blasphemy, sadomasochism, drugs and damnation. The album jacket shows Miro dressed in a black-leather teddy cut to her navel, fishnet stockings, high heels and long black gloves. This kind of pose might be a seller in specialty lingerie shops, but only someone as coquettish as Madonna can use it to sell records. It's not surprising that the Nuns have been making music in San Francisco since 1978 without converting a lot of fans. Despite their talent, they have too many strange habits. (Jem)

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