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WENDY AND LISA (Buy CDs by this artist)
Wendy and Lisa (Columbia) 1987
Fruit at the Bottom (Columbia) 1989
Eroica (Virgin) 1990
Girl Bros. (World Domination Enterprises) 1998

On their maiden voyage away from former führer Prince, ex-Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin and keyboard player Lisa Coleman delivered a generous helping of smooth, likable tunes. The lyrical department is a little shakier, sometimes veering into bathos — "The Life," "Song About" (guess who). But the compositions show flashes of harmonic and structural daring, and there's no faulting Wendy and Lisa's chops: they play almost all the instruments. Respectable, if not Revolutionary.

Succeeding albums have shown Wendy and Lisa to be musically restless. Fruit at the Bottom is a virtual song cycle about falling in, out of and again in, love. Holding to that theme, the lyrics are almost simplistic, and the danceable pop-funk has little of the musically progressive tendencies of the pair's debut. The fearlessly and humorously titled Eroica, on the third hand, dives into a rococo whirlpool of textures, with deeper lyrics to match. Dense sonic layering and impressionistic imagery exude a '60s-revivalist fragrance; the ambiguous emotions the words call up are less bound to stylistic convention. And Wendy and Lisa still play almost all the instruments. More than respectable.

[Scott Isler]