Picks and Pans Review: A New Flame

updated 02/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Simply Red

If you're in need of a blue-eyed soul fix, thumb past the Culture Club section of the record bins. Keep going past Hall & Oates. Keep going...now STOP! right there at Simply Red. Their third effort will make you forget the Boy or Philly's once-renowned duo. This gorgeous mix of pop, white funk and light jazz might even top their 1986 album A Picture Book, given A New Flames smooth, confident sound. It starts, of course, with That Voice. Mick Hucknall's sentient vocals are so breathtaking that his superb melodies can get lost in the listening process. "To Be with You" is white funk at its best, boiling over with the aid of Tony Bowers' low-down bass. Sade could use a tune like the album's opener, "It's Only Love," with its George Benson-like guitar chords. The band's version of the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes hit "If You Don't Know Me by Now" is done with appropriate reverence for the traditions of soul music. The record is a bit top-heavy, with most of the best songs featured on the first side and the lackluster ones on the second. Hucknall might also be moving a bit closer to some of the repetitious rut that has practically doomed Sade's career. But the overall taste of A New Flume is simply delicious. (Elektra)

From Our Partners