April 20, 1987 12:00 PM

Robbie Nevil

At 24, Nevil has the kind of fluid tunefulness that is usually found in singers who have either developed under the tutelage of a demanding choirmaster or been in the music business a long time. He can squeeze a Russian novel’s worth of emotion out of the beat-heavy repetitiveness inherent in dance-club fare. Maybe that’s an ability the former session guitarist gleaned from studying the likes of El DeBarge and the Pointer Sisters, for whom he has written material. This LP is full of dance tracks as well, and as dance tracks go, C’est la Vie and Just a Little Closer are first class. Nevil’s one of the few recording artists other than the Eurythmics to use studio technology to enhance, rather than camouflage, his voice, which curls around the few fragments of melodies here like a lithe gymnast on parallel bars. His playing on the ballad Back to You indicates he is also a skillful guitarist. It shows Nevil can, if he chooses, transcend the inevitable limitations of ’80s-style disco. (Manhattan)

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