Popular music, by its very nature, rarely aspires to great artistic heights. The music mirrors the momentary tastes of its culture, and the images of its performers are often as important as the music which they present.

Crystal Haze is a perfect case in point. The 10-piece group has been carefully chosen and nurtured for superstardom by Factors, their production company. From their bright blue uniforms right down to their silver-booted toes, they have all the "right" cosmetics for pop music success. There is a catch to all of this.

Appearing last night at the Bayou, before a polite crowd and an energetic film crew from NBC's "Weekend" television show, they presented a set that was high on polish and low on feeling and individuality. They sound vaguely similar to other famous groups -- Chicago and the Commadores come to mind -- yet they lack a personality of their own. The group is musically competent but without their packaging they would be just another group in the crowd.

Crystal Haze could be the next "craze" -- they certainly seem to have the backing for it. For the moment, however, they are more like just another box of soap flakes -- and this is one product that fails to wash.