Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...

updated 12/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

>Boyzone

It's not the British rock invasion of the 1960s, but be forewarned: With the Spice Girls barely out of sight after their 11-week U.S. tour this year, here comes Boyzone. The heavily hyped, working-class Irish vocal group (Ronan Keating, 21, Keith Duffy, 24, Stephen Gately, 22, Shane Lynch, 22, and Mikey Graham, 26) hope a one-week tour of U.S. radio stations this month will pave the way for bigger, Spice-size things. "There is a very large Irish contingent in America," says Keating, the group's videogenic front man (and onetime Dublin shoe salesman), "so that's a great foundation."

Like the Spice Girls, the Boyz honed their singing and stage steps before going public. Now, after 12 Top 5 singles and three hit albums in the U.K. since 1994, they are banking on U.S. audiences to grab their latest CD, Where We Belong, and to welcome a 1999 tour. Also in the plans: Boyzone: The Movie.

The Boyz, however, may face one risk not known to the Spice Girls: that of being taken seriously. Keating won a prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award last May for "Picture of You." Married to an Irish model, he will also soon be the group's third member to become a father. But with experience, perhaps, comes wisdom. "We don't believe the hype or the press," says Keating of the growing hoopla. "I think that's the Irishness in us."

From Our Partners

From Our Partners