MARSHMALLOW Marshmallow (Lo-Max)

Brainspawn of former Mutton Bird Alan Gregg and championed by The Go-Betweens - who, let's face it, know two or three things about intelligent guitar pop themselves - Marshmallow's eponymous issue is about as substantial and nourishing as the name suggests.

Gregg certainly possesses a rare lyrical ability - "Come Sunday", for example, exquisitely conjures the oppression of high-rise inner city life through an evocative series of little observations - but then he smothers it with the blandest of music, a sound that suggests an unappealing combination of the Pernice Brothers and Crowded House at their most insipid. The bleached Bacharach of "Do The Decent Thing" seems almost shockingly inappropriate for its subject matter (fight or flight in the face of imminent fatherhood). Yes, this kind of sweet music/sour lyrics combination has been done before - The Smiths and The Auteurs, for example, both achieved considerable artistic success using it - but in Gregg's possibly overly delicate hands it goes horribly awry. A ho-hum Prefab Sprout album - or even an uninspired Go-Betweens album, come to that - would eat this for breakfast.