Picks and Pans Review: Holly Knight

UPDATED 10/03/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/03/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

Holly Knight

Until now, Knight has done most of her singing on demos of her own songs that were shopped around to other artists. Heart (Never), Patty Smyth (Warrior), Rod Stewart (Love Touch), Tina Turner (Better Be Good to Me) and others have all fared well with Knight compositions. This album marks the first time the talented songwriter has ventured out on her own as a singer. Obviously her strong suit hasn't deserted her. These songs are handsome, economical pop tunes, festooned with sneaky-cute melodic phrases that vault them onto the scale somewhere between catchy and infectious. Her voice, while presentable, isn't the stuff multi-platinum careers are made of. Imagine Rickie Lee Jones stripped of her gifts for shading and phrasing. The inherent lack of musculature in Knight's delivery is somewhat masked by the brisk, vibrantly played light rock settings of this record. Her finest vocal moments come on the slinky Heart Don't Fail Me Now, on which Daryl Hall provides background support. Although too much of the album is set to the same mid-tempo, there are some standout compositions, including the frisky Baby Me and It's Only Me, the latter of which Knight wrote with Nancy Wilson of Heart and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles. It's Only Me glides along with all the grace of a schooner, its sails filled with the breeze from Jimmy Z's nimble harmonica. This debut may not be auspicious, but it is undeniably pleasant. Anyway, all you superstars can forget about getting any more of Knight's demo tapes. From now on, if you're in the market for a Knight hit, you're going to have to lift it off one of her records. Just like any old cover band at the neighborhood tavern. (Columbia)

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