Picks and Pans Review: Whole Lava Love

updated 07/02/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/02/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Lava Love

This Atlanta outfit's beach-party sound has drawn favorable comparisons with the B-52s' and the Go-Gos'. Fun company indeed, though Lava Love comes across as more of a kitschy imitator than an equal to those groups on this debut album. Lead singer Esta Hill uses her feigned little-girl vocals to best effect when she applies them to sweetly sarcastic lyrics. The album opens with the rowdy "Perfect Gurl," and sends up shallow lovers: "My perfect place is home in the mirror/With Tarzan pumping up at my feet." They turn grittier on "Good As Goodbye," when Hill and co-writers Paul Bracken and Drew Cavins tear down a phony poser: "Sybil ain't got nothin on your cast of characters/ Leather-jacket jock or damaged drunkard on the floor." When Cookie Brindle adds some of his spaced-out keyboard fills or Cavins rips off a hot guitar lick, the band develops its most distinct sound.

Too much of the album sounds derivative, but with the B-52s' triumphant comeback and a Go-Gos' reunion possible somewhere down the road, the timing is ideal for Lava Love. Maybe a concert promoter should bring all these acts together and take them on the road to revive the Endless Summer. (Sky)

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