July 03, 1989 12:00 PM

Atlantic Starr

Just missed. This romantically inclined vocal quintet is slightly off the mark on their latest record, but it’s more than enough to spoil the pleasure they might have been capable of providing.

Take “Under Your Spell,” for instance. Wayne Lewis puts a little too much top-spin on his vocal delivery, and that brash-ness spoils the song’s seductive mood. Same with “Friends” (another David and Wayne Lewis composition), which is a pretty ballad with an almost country twist, but it too is rendered by Starr with an ungainly intensity that mars the song’s potential charms. It doesn’t end there. “I’m in Love with You” and the title track are both too uptempo. The beats are a little too frisky, and the melodies don’t linger. Sure, “Don’t Start the Fire” (which showcases new distaff addition Porscha Martin) is supposed to be funky. So why does it make you want to settle deeper into the couch? The best shots here are the love songs “My First Love” and “My Sugar,” but even they don’t compare with Atlantic Starr’s slow-dancing smash, “Always,” off the group’s last album. Atlantic Starr may be moving up but may be leaving their listeners behind. (Warner Bros.)

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