Picks and Pans Review: Blender

updated 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Murmurs (MCA)

If the Indigo Girls took a step back to the pop-lite harmonies of the '50s, they might sound like the Murmurs do here: treacly sweet, delicate and as full of girlishness as a life sentence at Lilith Fair.

Leisha Hailey and Heather Grody, two 26-year-old former New York City acting students who began playing together eight years ago on subway platforms and in downtown clubs, sometimes sashay over the line that divides delicate from flimsy. So on their third album, the duo is uncommonly dependent on studio drummers Abe Laboriel Jr. and Sherri Solinger to enliven things. Grody and Hailey, who wrote all the songs and are now based in Los Angeles, aren't exactly wordsmiths, settling for obvious titles like "Genius" paired with such uninspired lines as "She's kinda freaky/ She's kinda weird/ But I don't know/ I think she's a genius."

The Murmurs have a bright, engaging sound. They could use a bit of the bigger-voiced quality of k.d. lang, who produced six of the album's cuts. But then, who couldn't?

Bottom Line: Soft rock that's close to being frail

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