April 20, 1987 12:00 PM

Patty Smyth

Scandal, the group for which Smyth used to sing lead, was unraveling even as it was becoming a smash hit with its album The Warrior in 1984. The New York-based band’s core on The Warrior included Smyth, guitarist Zack Smith and drummer Thommy Price. Now Smyth is off on her own—she says she wanted to take a more soulful turn. This, her first solo album, is apt to disappoint people who liked the wiry, highly charged sound she gave to Scandal. While her backup group includes Hooters guitarist Eric Bazilian and keyboardist Rob Hyman, most of the tracks have a rock-by-numbers tone. Most effective is the bluesy Tom Waits tune Downtown Train, to which saxophonist David Sanborn adds a twist of urban angst. Call to Heaven, which seems to be an antiwar song, will provoke a thought or two. But producer Rick Chertoff, who ought to know about having fun since he turned out Cyndi Lauper’s first album, doesn’t help Smyth avoid what sounds like a grim determination that hardly does justice to her voice. (Columbia)

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