Copyright 1983 Globe Newspaper Company
The Boston Globe

Date: Saturday, July 2, 1983

Author: By Jim Sullivan Special to The Globe

Section: ARTS/ FILMS


Robert Palmer, fresh from his Orpheum concert, stood backstage at the Metro after Sex Execs and 'Til Tuesday had just finished playing in WBCN's Rock 'n' Roll Rumble final Thursday night. The five judges were voting upstairs in an office.

"You're really good," Palmer told 'Til Tuesday bassist-singer Aimee Mann. "What happens next?"

"Waiting," she said with a smile. Was she nervous? "I'm not nervous. I've already played."

In minutes WBCN's Carter Alan hit the Metro stage, praised the 23 other bands in the nine-date competition, and announced Til Tuesday's victory to the cheering near-capacity crowd.

Quite obviously, 'Til Tuesday, a white funk-pop quartet formed five months ago, were pleased. "Aside from the money ($2000)," Mann said, "it's just publicity galore. Everybody is being real nice to us."

The band is presently recording a demo tape with the Cars' engineer Ian Taylor, and Mann is confident the group will be signed by a major record label.

Each band played two sets and 'Til Tuesday's second was the one that cooked. Their first was laid back and tentative; during the second they cut a more striking course.

Singing sultry songs of love on the rocks, Mann and guitarist Robert Holmes, keyboardist Joey Pesce and drummer Michael Hausman created wave-like rhythmic grooves and seductive melodic hooks.

"I think it has enough of an edge," Mann said, "but I'm really a sucker for lush melodies and minor chords - melodies that are beautiful without being sappy."

The eight-member Sex Execs were slick, stylish and tight - frequent brass bursts, busy arrangements - but the spare parts rarely coalesced into strong songs. Although their second set was an improvement, Sex Execs still came across as new-wave dilettantes. Til Tuesday, perhaps equally style conscious, had more heart and soul.