Divinyls Are Back After 3-year Leave

Posted: May 01, 1988

After an absence of three years, the Australian band the Divinyls is back with a new album, Temperamental (Chrysalis * * * ). The group's songs are workmanlike, not spectacular, but the singing of Christina Amphlett is a wonder - strong, funny, passionate and self-deprecating. And Mike Chapman, the producer, has found a way to set off Amphlett's vocals without relegating the rest of the band to the status of mere backup musicians.

Glass Eye Bent by Nature (Bar None * * * ): This fine Austin band has, with its new third album, finally found a way to fully convey its humor and power on record. The quartet's material most frequently consists of alluring melodies that fracture and disintegrate before your very ears, only to be reassembled by the conclusion of the song. And the lyrics sung by Kathy McCarty and Brian Beattie avoid trite commonplaces to become eerily allusive, surrealistically amusing.

Tony! Toni! Tone! Who? (Wing/Polygram * * ): The hottest dance-music act of the moment sports the oddest name of the moment as well (no one in this trio is named any variation on "Tony"). The music isn't odd at all - fairly conventional pop rhythms attractively crooned. But credit must at least be given to an odd influence: The group's current single, "Little Walter," derives its melody from the old Ramsey Lewis pop-jazz instrumental hit "Wade in the Water."

Prefab Sprout From Langley Park to Memphis (Epic * * ): Softly, timidly, the group Prefab Sprout sings mild pop songs in quavering English voices. ''Cars and Girls" is pretty, "The King of Rock and Roll" is, in this winsome context, ironic, and the whole project is too wispy to be very intriguing. Hip mood music.

Longhouse Longhouse (Warner Bros. * * ): The surging, potent voice of Lisa Herman is the distinguishing characteristic of this New York band's debut record - that, and the dreamily attractive melodies Herman composes. After a while, the husky allure of her voice wears off, and you are aware of how thin much of the music is, but before that happens, Longhouse has created a few nice moments.

RATINGS:

* * * * Excellent

* * * Good

* * Fair

* Poor

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