Picks and Pans Review: Raw Like Sushi

updated 07/17/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/17/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Neneh Cherry

London dance-minx Cherry (stepdaughter of jazz trumpeter Don Cherry) has come up with an insouciant and spirited debut. Her sound is simple, spacious and very New York street: Over a prominent drum-machine beat and minimal synthesized accompaniment, her raw voice half-sings, half-raps, mock-tough lyrics.

When she sticks to that formula, singing about infatuation and seduction on the city's mean sidewalks, as on "Love Ghetto," "Buffalo Stance" and "Kisses on the Wind," she's fresh and inviting. But when she starts preaching about social issues, as on "The Next Generation," her appeal evaporates. She doesn't make that mistake often, sticking to an unflinching urban approximation of romance. Her style is a bit too jejune for anyone to call this Cherry ripe, but she sure is tart. (Virgin)

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