Picks and Pans Review: Wendy Wall

updated 12/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Wendy Wall

Good news for stressed-out yuppies, working mothers and anyone else who ends the day feeling like a wrung-out dishrag. Here's a record as comforting as a fuzzy homemade sweater and as relaxing as a massage at the health club. With a rich, sonorous voice backed by a top-notch pop combo, Wall delivers original songs that could take the kinks out of the toughest day.

Singing with impressive self-confidence, Wall, a former cocktail waitress, hardly gives a clue that this is her debut album, except perhaps when her lyrics shift into the clich├ęs-aweigh mode. It's hard to forgive her for such lines as "Swallow your pride/ Can't you see I'm on your side?" Yet she at least partially redeems herself. In "Wandering the Streets of Modern America," she creates a vivid cityscape, probably inspired by her hometown, New York: "Headlights cut the dusk like switchblades/ Lovers' eyes like fireflies in feather-fingered evening chill." Songs like this one set Wall way above other singers in the same lite-pop genre. At its best her music doesn't fade into the background like new-age wallpaper; it swirls outward like a subtle stream of sweet incense. (SBK)

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