EVERY SO OFTEN you come across a record like T'Pau's self-titled debut, where it's not the singer or the songs that matter so much as it is the producer. In this case, Roy Thomas Baker can take a bow.

Granted, Carol Decker, lead singer of this British rock sextet, has a strong set of pipes, and along with guitarist Ron Rogers she's come up with several catchy tunes, including the hot single, "Heart and Soul." But even on that tune, a sort of rap 'n' roll hybrid that clearly ranks among the album's best efforts, it's Baker's sonic sweep that sets it apart.

This may turn out to be an ideal association for Baker, who has previously worked with everyone from the Cars to Bob Dylan. Unlike those artists, Decker doesn't impose a strong personality on her songs, just a strong voice, and while there's no denying the melodic appeal of tunes like "China in Your Hand" or the rhythmic punch of "Friends Like These," Baker seems the one most responsible for shaping the band's sound and success. T'PAU --

"T'Pau" (Virgin 7-90905). Appearing Sunday at the Bayou.