Picks and Pans Review: Wanderlust

updated 09/09/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Tami Show

Pardon the circus-sideshow image this description conjures, but here's a girl group with hair on its chest. There's sugar and spice in the lucid vocals of sisters Cathy and Claire Massey. But there's also a lot of rock heft to the sound provided by the backing band: Tommy Gawenda (guitar), Mark Jiaras (bass), Ken Harck (drums) and Peter Spero (keyboards).

The group, which in various guises has been knocking around Chicago for nearly a decade, took their name from an epochal '60s music special on TV featuring Motown stars. The writing on their debut, while not always memorable, even at its worst is succinct and nicely turned. Mike Chapman, who has produced a host of women rockers, including Lita Ford and Pat Benatar, and who is married to another Massey sister, Zan, puts a nice semiglossy polish on their sound.

The record's lesser tracks wouldn't have rescued the band from the Windy City bar circuit. But in its best songs, such as "The Truth" and "Cry Blue," the deft mix of rock and pop suggests a cross between Heart and Scandal. Those standouts make it worth tuning in to the Tami Show. (RCA/Dreamland)

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