September 26, 1988 12:00 PM

Everything but the Girl

Like such similar British bands as This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins, this group at times seems both pompous and moody. Idlewild, EBTG’s fourth U.S. release, contains 11 torchy paeans to the past, mostly penned by lead singer Tracey Thorn and producer Ben Watt. Thorn’s voice can be affecting, caressing lyrics about lost innocence, lost loves and the need to call someplace home. But the album reeks of nostalgia. In Oxford Street, Thorn sings, “When I was 10 I thought my brother was God/ He’d lie in bed and turn out the light with a fishing rod.” More weepy longings abound in Goodbye Sunday: “I am too fond of the past/ But I’m happy to look at last/ And every Monday is goodbye Sunday.” Most of the songs blend into a monotonous, melancholy drone, hitting a few upbeat notes with Damon Butcher’s keyboard arrangements. Unlike Everything but the Girl’s brilliant 1986 LP Baby, The Stars Shine Bright Tonight, there are too few hooks on Idlewild to keep anyone except hard-core fans interested. Thorn’s and Watt’s lyrics start to sound self-indulgent after two or three songs. Listeners will soon realize that the only thing interesting about this album is the fact that its title is the former name of New York’s Kennedy airport. (Sire)

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