From the Andrews Sisters to Michael and Janet Jackson
's "Scream," pop music has often been a family affair. And lately, brothers rule the charts: After 7's hit" 'Til You Do Me Right" highlights the deft vocal maneuvering of siblings Kevon and Melvin Edmonds (and their longtime pal Keith Mitchell), while Jodeci's "Freek 'n You" features two pairs of singing brothers, K-Ci and JoJo Hailey and the DeGrates, better known to fans as DeVante and Mr. Dalvin.
True to its title, After 7's Reflections (Virgin) is mostly about looking back musically. Songs like the gently swinging "How Did He Love You" and the Philly soulful "Sprung on It" are packed with plenty of old-school charms: soaring harmonies, silky arrangements and sweet words of love. And although there's a nice, modern edge thanks to the creative input of such hipster singer-songwriter-producers as Jon B. and Kenneth "Baby-face" Edmonds (Kevon and Melvin's Midas-like kid sib, who has produced everyone from Madonna
to Boyz II Men), After 7 holds on tight to its sophisticated retro vision.
Jodeci lives in a different musical world from After 7's. On their first two efforts, which both went platinum, the Charlotte, N.C., foursome came across as the sensual, unbuttoned alternative to Boyz II Men's straitlaced romantics. With The Show (Uptown/MCA) they go all the way—and a bit too far in the rude-boy direction. Aside from some supreme, heaven-sent harmonizing on "Love U 4 Life" and "Good Luv," an acoustic valentine, The Show has more in common with the nasty street beat of Snoop Doggy Dogg than with After 7's vintage soul. Jodeci tries to turn up the heat with horny pillow talk and bump-and-grind moves, but there's nothing sexy about the group's obsession with all things freaky. So don't be surprised if you're tempted to call it a night before The After-Party kicks in.