October 20, 1980 12:00 PM

Ronnie Spector

Veronica Bennett married the mason who built the famous Wall of Sound, Phil Spector, and encased her talents in it as the namesake-lead singer of the Ronettes. She has since divorced Spector, and here, at 34, attempts to forge her own new sound in a solo LP issued on the small Polish label. (“Polish is No Joke” is their motto.) Her producer is fellow rock diva Genya Ravan, and together with a cadre of sidemen they have made a valiant effort to top old Ronette favorites like Be My Baby and Walking in the Rain. The 10 songs of Siren are a predictable mixture of New Wave tunes, upbeat rockers, a paean to the past (Happy Birthday Rock and Roll, which is dedicated to Phil) and an obligatory, uninspired reggae tune. Hearing Ronnie’s voice in the midst of clanging guitars takes some getting used to and her vibrato needs some work, but the great pipes are still there on cuts like Darlin’ and Settin’ the Woods on Fire. For girl group aficionados, Ronnie’s return is cause for celebration, but one can’t help wondering if she has traded a tyrant Svengali producer for a benevolent one who’s not as effective.

You May Like