Picks and Pans Review: Dedication

updated 01/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Heaven on Earth

Joe and Pauly Ortiz, who are the sum total of Heaven on Earth—they both sing and do various things with keyboards and synthesizers—are a strange combination. Joe is from the Bronx, Pauly from Chelmsford in Essex, England, for one thing. For another, Joe has a sturdy, unexceptional dance-pop vocal style, while Pauly's is all over the lot. At times, she's silky and true-toned enough to make images of Whitney Houston dance in a listener's head (or at least stand there and sing). She can also, however, lapse into an impossibly shrill style that suggests a basketball referee whistling someone down for a flagrant foul. The track All of Your Love, for instance, ought to be banned before it starts doing terrible things to dogs' ears. On the other hand, Can't Break a Woman is a model dance tune, full of jumpy little rhythmic tricks and sung by Pauly in postmodern disco-diva fashion. Joe's background with Hispanic and Caribbean bands and Pauly's inclination to R&B mannerisms suggest that they possess a potential for an intriguing duo collaboration, somewhere between the outposts occupied by the Captain and Tennille and Hall and Oates. This debut album is along the lines of a coming attraction for that potential. (Atlantic)

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