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RECORD RACK

The Pointers: Natural Talent, Cheap Tricks

November 16, 1986|STEVE HOCHMAN

"HOT TOGETHER." Pointer Sisters. RCA.

Few artist-producer relationships have been as fruitful as the eight-year teaming of the Pointers and Richard Perry. Where most such arrangements tend to stagnate creatively, this one has been consistently successful, resulting in the joyous likes of "Fire," "Should I Do It," "Jump (For My Love)" and "Neutron Dance."

"Hot Together" continues the tradition without particularly advancing it. Perry's chief asset is his ear for hit material and settings. The Pointers' biggest attractions are their voices and irrepressible personalities. When those elements combine, the results are irresistible.

The album's outstanding example of this is "Taste," a perky rocker that features the Sisters mimicking male vocal styles, notably Ruth's amazing low part. No techno-gimmickry here--just pure, unadulterated natural talent. Unfortunately, the effect is almost killed in the next song, "Eyes Don't Lie," in which the voices are electronically treated. With singers like this, why use such cheap tricks?

The formula clicks nearly as well in two other places. The opening song, "My Life" (co-written by actress-comedian Sandra Bernhard), effectively blends the sassy vocals of the earliest Pointer Sisters records with contemporary production. Hot on its heels come the sultry rhythms of "Mercury Rising," which sounds like a slinky dance-floor natural.

The rest of the material (except the lame "Sexual Power") is essentially the filler you'd expect from singles artists like these--enjoyable if unexceptional bits of fluff that tend toward sameness in tone and tempo. And not even the highlights are as grabbing as some of the group's earlier hits. Still, it's a quality pop record.

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