• Murmurs
  • The Murmurs (MCA) 1994 
  • Pristine Smut (MCA) 1997 
  • Blender (MCA) 1998 

The New York-based singing-songwriting-busking Murmurs — Florida native Heather Grody and Nebraska expatriate Leisha Hailey — display lovely, harmonious voices and serviceable folk-pop melodies on their debut album, but that’s the last of their good news. Trouble hits halfway through the first track (“Bad Mood”) with this irritating bit of irritation: “Nothing seems to go my goddamn way.” Beware of neophytes who make a bid for sympathy before properly introducing themselves — especially ones who wear wings in their album art. “Ticket to Zen” finds its own sweet relief, but the record’s demi-hit, “You Suck,” squeezes a dose of self-absorbing pus from some deep romantic wound, a gratuitous gripefest as welcome as an unprompted harangue from the guy sitting next to you on the subway.

[Ira Robbins]