May 06, 1991 12:00 PM

Sheila E.

Prince’s sometime percussionist continues to step out on her own, but she hasn’t ever ventured far from the musical territory staked out by his Purple nibs.

The title track, with its spindly melodic component mincing over a fat-back bass and rhythm bottom, is representative. On other songs, Ms. Escovedo and her primary collaborator and brother, Peter Michael, blend in elements of hip hop (“Funky Attitude”), salsa (“Droppin’ Like Flies” and “Private Party”) and new jack swing (“Loverboy”). The one surprise is a brassy, high-kicking cover of the old disco hit “Lady Marmalade.”

Sheila doesn’t have a very full-bodied voice, but using overdubs, she has learned to braid it intricately. She actually sounds most appealing on the beat-heavy ballad “Cry Baby.” The problem with the faster songs is not their energy but their lack of imagination. Too often, they sound like machine-tooled factory funk. (Warner Bros.)

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