Boasting a cool Generation-X moniker — arcane to the masses, but hip to young cognoscenti — this New York band plays a hard-to-define blend of rock, pop and grunge lite. With nods at dance music, new wave and au courant punk, Envy reflects the musical climate of its year of release, only the hooks are minimal and the quartet sounds as if it’s learning songwriting on the fly. What sinks the experiment are the faux-Seattle guitars and the awful affected singing by Colleen Fitzpatrick (a former dancer and actress who previously appeared in John Waters’ Hairspray and would finally find stardom as the solo act Vitamin C), as she veers from a wicked-witch screech to Debbie Harry aplomb.
Eve’s Plum drops the corrosive angst on the lean and less mean Cherry Alive, opting instead for clean pop songwriting and svelte rock guitars. Fred Maher’s production brings out the cream in Fitzpatrick’s voice; bolstered by a giant leap in songwriting and intraband cohesion, “Wishing the Day Away,” “Want You Bad” and “Fairy Princess” soar like Blondie and the Darling Buds. Likewise, the title track synergizes handclaps, creative guitar playing and a cool chorus.