Picks and Pans Review: Perfect View

updated 09/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Graces

Led by ex-Go-Go Charlotte Caffey, the Graces, on their first record (as well as Caffey's since she parted from Belinda Carlisle et al. in 1984), perpetuate the frothy California sound that seems all the rage among distaff rockers west of the Rockies.

A trio of comely, well-tressed West Coast females, the Graces do their best to distinguish themselves from other "girl groups" and succeed a fair amount of the time. Caffey found the other Graces, Gia Ciambotti and Meredith Brooks, on the L.A. club circuit. They generate rich harmonies and pleasant choruses reminiscent of the Bangles while minimizing the boisterous guitars common to some of their sisters in song. They break out of this easy-to-listen-to but restrictive basic style in a few bright places—"50,000 Candles Burning," for instance, has a funky strut, and Ciambotti does her best Tina Turner on "When the Sun Goes Down."

Not every song is that distinctive. The overwhelming feeling of Perfect View is that Caffey is still trying to flesh out a more singular sound to set the group apart. But it's early in the game for the trio, and their songs are lively. So let's call it tofutti music: Not as rich as the real thing, but if you are hankering for something sweet to keep you light on your feet, it's a satisfying substitute. (A&M)

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