Picks and Pans Review: We Too Are One

updated 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Eurythmics

From the loose-cannon look Dave Stewart has always cultivated to Annie Lennox's imperious stage presence, the Eurythmics remain a band for their era. What Lawrence Welk was to being chummy, Dave is to detachment; what Shirley Temple was to cheerfulness, Annie is to cynicism. (Think of what a shock it was to see Lennox beaming—well, smiling a little—in the video she did with Al Green for "Put a Little Love in Your Heart.")

Their saving grace has been their ability to create intelligent, accessible musical surprises that seem to invite everyone else to join their game for a bit. That sort of grace is not absent from this album, but it seems to be napping most of the time.

Alienation-wise, the duo is in top form. On "You Hurt Me (and I Hate You)," for example, Lennox sings, "A history of bitterness/ You have left a blazing trail/ If you had been a hammer/ I'd be a broken nail." Even the title tune, wildly optimistic by ordinary Eurythmics standards, concedes, "People like us/ Are too messed up/ To live in solitude."

Musically, however, this album has a droning quality to it. "Revival," with a hint of the religious, R&B fervor that the title implies, perks things up for a while. But despite the fact that Lennox is in fine voice (what else is new) and Stewart hacks away on guitar, most of the tracks tend to the dirge-like mood of "The King & Queen of America."

Lennox and Stewart wrote all the songs themselves (with outside help in "Revival" and "You Hurt Me"), and Stewart produced with Jimmy Iovine. So there's not much question about where the blame lies. Let's just look upon this album as the musical equivalent of a visit from a usually entertaining aunt and uncle who, in this case, have brought along a rather grim bunch of slides from their recent trip to Bulgaria. (Arista)

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