Wendy and Lisa

  • Wendy and Lisa
  • Wendy and Lisa (Columbia) 1987 
  • Fruit at the Bottom (Columbia) 1989 
  • Eroica (Virgin) 1990 
  • Girl Bros.
  • 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]