Picks and Pans Review: Scarlet and Other Stories

updated 02/19/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/19/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

All About Eve

There is something about listening to this young British quartet that makes you want to stick a posy in your hair and go paint some swirls on a minibus. The band does tunes with such titles as "Tuesday's Child" and "Gold and Silver" and sounds variously like Jefferson Airplane (the Elder), Fleetwood Mac, Fairport Convention and any number of those '60s-early '70s outfits with what now seem painfully stupid names. (All About Eve's producer, Paul Samwell-Smith, co-produced the old Yardbirds, so the resemblance between the living and dead aggregations is not coincidental in this case.)

For all its throwback drawbacks, though, All About Eve has a delicate, precise way with what it calls folk metal music (it's way heavier on the folk than the metal). Lead singer Julianne Regan adds a dash of wistful irony to her sweetie-pie vocals, and guitarist Tim Bricheno picks out solos that are heavier on melody than they are on meaningless stylistic flourishes. (Bassist Andy Cousin and drummer Mark Price are the rest of the group, which took its name from the 1950 Bette Davis-Anne Baxter movie.)

Given the airy nature of many of their lyrics—"It's like a winter dream/ Beside a timeless stream"—it's too bad Regan; tends toward slurry diction, since it breaks the mood when you have to strain to hear what it is she's singing about. When she and Bricheno, on acoustic guitar, hook up for a quiet meditation on "The Pearl Fisherman," though, it shows how affecting the group can be. Post-flower children take note. (Mercury)

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