Candy Dulfer (Arista 8674)
It's no picnic trying to get people interested in fusion jazz. Pitch it as pop, and people ask, "Where's the melody?" Redesign it as dance music, and they complain that the beat is too irregular. Market the musicianship, and their eyes glaze over. But sell it as sex -- now, there's an angle most pop fans can appreciate. Hence, "Saxuality," the American debut of Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer. Never mind that there's no heavy breathing here; a few well-placed double entendres (plus some snazzy photos of the saxophonist herself) are all it takes. In fact, the hype is so efficient, you might not even notice the quality of the music -- which, from "Lily Was Here" on, is tuneful, swinging and pleasantly approachable.
The Farm (Sire 26600)
Read their interviews, and it seems as if the new generation of English sampler bands -- Jesus Jones, EMF, Happy Mondays -- are about to give birth to a brave new world of rock and roll. Don't believe it for a minute. Some of these bands might be avowed modernists, but others, like the Farm, are simply old-fashioned rockers with newfangled toys. Thus, despite the state-of-the-art sounds sandwiched into the Farm's debut, "Spartacus," the music they're applied to is as cornily tuneful as any hit by Madness or Slade; in fact, "All Together Now," which takes its melody from Pachebel's Canon, is even cornier than most. La plus ca change. . . .