Picks and Pans Review: The Woman's Boat

updated 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Toni Childs

With her third release, the dauntless Childs yokes herself to an ungainly conceit presumed extinct since the '70s: the concept album. This transcendental song cycle follows a woman's passage through life from delivery to deathbed, and it's an undeniably exotic collection thanks to Childs's deeply shaded, resonant voice and the manifold Indian, African and Australian influences with which she spices the music. Unfortunately, with the marginal exceptions of "Womb" and "I Just Want Affection," the results are dour, with melodies that are overwrought and unsatisfying.

Primarily what this self-important album accomplishes is to provide further proof that, in the world of pop music, ambition is a seldom-splendored thing. (Geffen)

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