Picks and Pans Review: 1990-a New Decade

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

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

Soul II Soul

This British group broke out last year with an exciting—and since then oft-copied—new sound that wed a breezy, revamped Philadelphia soul style complete with strings layered onto an infectious hop-along beat. It still works. Nothing quite measures up to Soul II Soul's first big hit, "Keep on Moving," but this release is, on the whole, a more consistent and assured display of their talents.

Take "Get a Life," on which a roiling bottom of drums, congas and bass underpins delicate instrumentation and the combined vocals of Jazzy B. rapping and Marcia Lewis and Daddae Harvey singing. Among the other winners are "Missing You," on which Kym Mazelle gets to belt it out, and the instrumental "Time," which is the apotheosis of Soul II Soul's sound synthesis, with its pizzicato violins, syncopated piano and indomitable drums. The group's one fault is a tendency toward floridness on such songs as "A Dream's a Dream." This time around, Soul II Soul's slinky style has been updated and fortified with a little more of a hip-hop rhythmic pulse, but that only makes the spacious elegance of the instruments and vocals stand out in starker relief. (Virgin)

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