Picks and Pans Review: Extra Virgin

updated 10/27/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/27/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

Olive

Through the decades, love and devotion have always had a central place in pop. At first listen, the British trio Olive, who topped the U.K. singles chart last May with "You're Not Alone," seems squarely in that tradition. But the song is not quite what it seems: Its soothing lyrics are punctuated by rumblings of tense, stuttering drum and bass, hinting at some darker obsession.

The same subversive blending of elements suffuses Olive's debut album. Ruth-Ann Boyle's warmed-honey vocals offset the iciness of titles like "Killing" and "Blood Red Tears"; her voice caresses arrangements at once gentle and unsettled. The intriguing combination makes Extra Virgin a bittersweet delight. (RCA)

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