June 28, 1999 12:00 PM

702 (Motown)

The fact that much of contemporary R&B is performed by faceless, interchangeable vocal groups is not news or really that troubling. The genre allows plenty of room for a well-crafted formula: hot tracks and hot tunes masterminded by whatever hot producer is currently in favor. So if it’s hard to distinguish the Las Vegas-based 702 from any number of sexy, soulful acts, and if only rabid fans and the group members’ mothers can actually name any of the trio, not to worry. 702, like so many other groups, consists of willing and clever ciphers brought alive by whatever beats are artfully poured into them.

Sisters LeMisha and Irish Grin-stead and longtime friend Kameelah Williams may not be ciphers for long. For one thing, they’ve already had a successful CD, 1996’s No Doubt. And in their new Top 5 single “Where My Girls At,” as well as the rest of this CD, they provide some nice angels-with-attitude vocals over a catchy backbeat. The dominant sound consists of a jittery stop-and-start bass with a drum-driven rhythm, which is typified on the percolating “You Don’t Know.” Yet despite their affinity for the thumping grooves, 702 can work it nice and smooth as well, and their subtle approach is just as seductive. And what the talented young members of 702 might lack in personality or individualism in their recordings they make up for in appeal and pure singing skills.

Bottom Line: Funky formulaic music, but with style and sass

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