Picks and Pans Review: Shades of Purple

updated 03/20/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

M2M (Atlantic)

The latest export from Norway, a country not known as a hotbed of pop talent, may soon rival Jarlsberg cheese in international popularity. Marion Raven and Marit Larsen, ages 15 and 16, met when they were 5. They also write their own music and play keyboards and guitar respectively on their ethereal U.S. debut. The female answer to preteen popsters Hanson, M2M sing in English with chiming, pristine harmonies on such songs as "The Day You Went Away" and "Pretty Boy."

The tunes sparkle with the same kind of milky freshness that once rocketed the Spice Girls to stardom. The difference is that these girls are actually young enough to be as innocent as their lyrics suggest. Consequently, lines like "You move right in behind my back/ Everyone knows, friends don't do that," addressed to a disloyal girlfriend on "Don't Mess with My Love," ring authentically true.

Still, M2M's music will appeal mostly to younger listeners. (In fact they made their Scandinavian debut with an album of children's songs.) Young listeners of the female persuasion, in particular, may gain real inspiration from these complex and truly talented young women.

Bottom Line: Sweet, not-too-spicy Scandinavian duo

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