Picks and Pans Review: Join the Band

updated 07/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Take 6

Adding instrumental backing to the astonishing vocal harmonies of Take 6 was a bold move, and it's the five-time Grammy-winning a cappella group's first major misstep. When the workmanlike music isn't being manufactured by synthesized keyboards and drum machines, it's being ground out by musicians who seem to want to achieve parity with those machines. Another stumbling block is the show-stealing presence of such high-profile guest stars as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Queen Latifah: All three sing and rap so distinctively that Take 6 winds up sounding like a guest on its own album. Still, there are examples of the squeaky-clean group's vocal wizardry here, notably a cover of Ambrosia's easy-listening staple "Biggest Part of Me." Take 6 is most successful when it sticks to what it does best: making the human voice sound like a divine instrument. (Reprise)

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