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POP AND JAZZ REVIEWS : Frente! Quartet Hits Hardest With Name

October 03, 1994|LORRAINE ALI

If rock's goal were to be as cute and fuzzy as a pink Care Bear, Frente! would be worshiped like Elvis. The Australian quartet hit big this year with a light and soulless rendition of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle," filling it with ineffectual, baby-talk vocals and soft, wafting acoustic pop.

At the Palace on Friday, the band confirmed that it needs the guidelines of a classic song like that to be even slightly noticeable, as its short set wandered numbly between sugar-coated pseudo-jazz and hook-less pop.

Singer Angie Hart stood in one spot, slapping her hand on her hip and cooing into the microphone. Her precious, high-pitched vocals were virtually empty, lacking the ethereal, crystalline peaks of the Cocteau Twins or even the flow of the Sundays.

The directionless songs were often underscored by the more dynamic chatter of the audience. Frente! tucked its MTV hit unassumingly into the middle of the set, toning down the number's impact and highlighting the fact that it has no other songs.

Far from the fiery impact of its namesake, Nicaragua's Sandinista Army, Frente! instead packs all the punch of a powder puff hitting pampered skin.

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