Picks and Pans Review: Longhouse

06/27/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT


What we have here, people, is a tasty twin bill of sophisticated and distinctive pop from two new female artists. Childs, who grew up in Orange, Calif., and now lives in Los Angeles, has a dusky, volatile voice, most interesting in its more emphatic moments when it sounds like Annie Lennox's gilded passion piped in via Phoebe Snow's delivery system. The music on Union (A&M), from the exhortatory rock flavor of Don't Walk Away to the slinky Caribbean samba of Stop Your Fussin', is certainly more than worthy of the voice. Walk and Talk Like Angels is a slow song, as warm, dry and stirring as a desert breeze. Childs wrote this and a number of the more moody songs on the record, collaborating with David Ricketts of the group David and David. Let the Rain Come Down, written by Childs, Ricketts and David Batteau, resembles one of Christine McVie's earthy mid-tempo ballads. The music of the New York-based Longhouse is brighter as well as more delicate and more formal. Creative leader Lisa Herman displays a captivating pop style that brings to mind both the sounds of Carole King and Laura Nyro. With their swirling, circular structures, songs such as Don't Remember and Come Back are particularly enticing. Producer Anton Fier put together some simple, springy instrumental settings that place the album's vocal pulchritude in bold relief. Union and Longhouse (Warner Bros.) represent a couple of very stylish debuts from two talented singer-songwriters.

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