May 07, 1990 12:00 PM

Wilson Phillips

Carnie Wilson, 21, her sister Wendy, 20, and Chynna Phillips, 22, harmonize sweetly, rock a little bit and generally sound quite pleasant. They have lots of time to develop, and this album suggests they have the talent too.

The album does not, though, reflect anything like the levels of musical ability that the young women’s parents, Brian Wilson and John and Michelle Phillips, showed as moving forces behind the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas.

Not many young performers do demonstrate that distinctive a sound, of course, but the Wilson Phillips three, having benefited from at least the genes (if not the clout) of their collective progenitors, have to face a sterner set of judgments. None of the performing parents appears in the credits for this album, though they do show up in the dedications. (Then again, anyone who isn’t in the dedications ought to be offended, since they run on to phone book length.) There is a cast of familiar studio names, including producer-arranger-keyboardist Glen Ballard.

Ballard also wrote a number of songs on the album with its three singers. The most notable tunes, though, come from other sources, such as Tim Hardin’s “A Reason to Believe,” the Darryl Brown-David Batteau-Madeline Stone song “Next to You (Someday I’ll Be)” and the peculiar but engaging “Eyes Like Twins,” by Rupert Hine and Jeannette Obstoj.

Still, too much of this album sounds like routine, sub-Bananarama pop. It is the sort of project that mostly brings to mind two phrases: Try again. Try harder. (SBK)

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