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POP REVIEWS : Post-Prince Wendy & Lisa Come out Fighting

June 26, 1989|CRAIG LEE

Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman were the major-domos of Prince's mighty Revolution, but recently there's been some purple rain on Wendy & Lisa's parade. For one thing, they were recently dropped by their record label after two post-Prince albums. But the dynamic duo came out of their corner fighting at the Roxy on Friday, scoring points with a series of hard and heavy grooves.

On a stage decorated in vintage hippie style, the women's seven-piece band unleashed a rich wash of sound, Coleman's ethereal keyboards and Melvoin's Hendrixian guitar centering material that ranged from the teasing funk of "Hey Yeah" to the propulsive heights of Prince's "Mountains." Melvoin's assured, nasal vocals were better than Coleman's whisper, but the real singing strength was in numbers as Wendy & Lisa engaged in lush harmonies with their two sisters/backup singers. Unfortunately, the families' pajama-party camaraderie tended toward distracting dorkiness.

And even if this was one of the best- sounding shows in recent memory, the constant vamp-riff-vamp pattern needed a stronger front-person to give it focus. Maybe someday that Prince will come.

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