"REVENGE." Eurythmics. RCA.
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox have a reputation for looking stylish, striking poses and wearing masks, and when we last heard from the British duo they were acting like American soulsters. On last year's "Be Yourself Tonight" they enlisted the likes of Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder and released pounding R&B tracks like "Would I Lie to You."
But with "Revenge," Eurythmics downplays the hard R&B, or at least integrates it more naturally into the alluring yet unsettling pop sound of the earlier records. It's a smart move that pays off. "Revenge" doesn't contain anything as bracing as "Lie to You," but its deeper pleasures make it the band's most mature, unforced and maybe even most soulful album.
Not a retreat by any means, the album recalls the delicate blend of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and "Here Comes the Rain Again." Lennox's full-bodied, soothing voice glides equally well over the seamless pop-rock tunes and all-out rockers. But they never play it completely straight: Producer Stewart uses brittle guitar solos, crazed harmonica parts and other jagged quirks to punch holes in the music's smooth surface, while there's always a touch of dread in Lennox's velvet tones.