Picks and Pans Review: Gordon

updated 04/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Barenaked Ladies

Though none of the five members of this Toronto-based group are either nude or female, they are—musically, anyway—no impostors.

Combining the catchiest hooks this side of Paul McCartney and willy wordplay à la Elvis Costello, the Ladies play sophisticated, grunge-free pop. Their totally acoustic sound emphasizes Manhattan Transfer-like harmonies and employs instruments from conga to piano in order to (literally) jazz things up.

Even more important are the lyrics. They actually require you to pay attention. They reminisce about getting beaten up in school for liking Duran Duran ("Grade 9"), mock a loser lothario ("The King of Bedside Manor") and occasionally toss off such cheerful non sequiturs as "They say absence makes the heart grow fungus" ("Blame It on Me"). These are Barenaked Ladies you don't have to feel guilty about fooling around with. (Sire/ Reprise)

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