Picks and Pans Review: Home

UPDATED 05/22/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/22/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT

Blessid Union of Souls

Music fans probably can be divided into two camps: those who swoon over sentimental acts, such as Michael Bolton, Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey, and those who can't stomach them. Blessid Union of Souls, a Cincinnati-based quartet who sing about peace, love and understanding, are the newest faces on pop's schmaltzy totem pole.

There's little doubt about the group's singing talent, but while their harmonies are tight, they are also lifeless. Indeed, despite the band's name, Home is essentially bereft of soul. Yes, the message of the hit single "I Believe" (about the perils of racism) is important. But lead singer Eliot Sloan's vocal style, dripping with breathy angst and earnestness, is more annoying than distinctive—he often sounds like Michael Jackson singing a bad ballad. And the bouncy, acoustic feel of the melodies gets gobbled up by overproduced string arrangements.

In true, easy-listening fashion, the album also contains its share of emetic lyrics: "As I look into your eyes/Feelings are much too strong for us not to try/And if by chance we lose this fight/Darling we still have tonight." In other words, Blessid Union of Souls, already the darlings of VH-1, have a great commercial future ahead of them. (EMI)

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