Listening to the Puppini Sisters is like eating too much peanut brittle. At first bite, the winsome threesome’s chocolate-box harmonies seem mighty tasty, but an entire album of the precise same candy-coated cuteness leaves you craving something—anything—less sticky. For their fourth outing, the Sisters (who aren’t really sisters, but one genuine Italian Puppini, Marcella—plus Brits Stephanie O’Brien and Kate Mullins) have wisely chosen to invade Hollywood, where the overripe glitziness they adore is in plentiful supply. (They might, however, have done more homework: Four of their 11 selections actually originated on Broadway.)
“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is perfect Puppini fodder; for as Marilyn Monroe and Madonna have already ably demonstrated, the kitschier the better. And the Brigitte Bardot hit “Moi Je Joue” is equally camp-worthy, though the Puppinis manage to zap it of all the purring sensuality that the French sex kitten provided. The trio can legitimately swing as hard and fast as the Andrews Sisters, which works on vintage tunes like “I Got Rhythm” and “Good Morning.”
Too often, though, they seem tempered by a white bread, McGuire Sisters sensibility, most notably on a mushy “True Love” and a gooey “I Feel Pretty.” And Kurt Weill’s delicate “September Song” simply doesn’t deserve to be drowned in such syrup. For whatever reason, they opt to perform The Godfather theme, for which both English and Italian lyrics were written, in French. Still, it is easily the album’s loveliest track.