Singer Rachel Sweet is a girl/woman of many contrasts. Born in Akron, Ohio, she had to travel to England for her first rock music success (with the Stiff label), She performs in a New Wave-ish style, but is not above doing a slow country tune. Only 16 years old, she sings, acts and looks like a seasoned pro with energy and excitement which know no age limit.

Her show last night at the Bayou was a powerful blend of these contrasts. She flitted about the stage like a teenage tease while singing a pop dong, "I Go To Pieces," which is older than she is. Flinging her arms and legs in classic punk style, she delivered a convincing version of the Rolling Stones' "Connection."

Backed by a solid hard-rock group, her voice proved equal to the frenzial pace. With pounding chords and jackhammer rhythms propelling her along, she tore through the songs, her trills and screeching high note bouncng off the walls. Yet she also handles smooth melodic phrases easily, and her performing style at times suggested a sleek, 1979 version of the young Mary Wells.

Rachel Sweet is promising, and should prove to be stiff competition for female vocalists of any age or persuasion.