Love And Rockets' Electronica Pop

Love And Rockets - Lift
(Red Ant Entertainment)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

One the most enduring elements of the band Love And Rockets is that you really haven't a clue as to what their going to do next.
Love And Rockets bandmembers Daniel Ash (vocals, guitars and sax), David J (vocals, bass and keyboards) and Kevin Haskins (drums and programming) began their career in the late seventies, along with vocalist Peter Murphy, as the seminal goth-rock band Bauhaus. Their music was dark and foreboding and conjured up nightmarish visions of vampires and other ghoulish beings.
After four years of guising themselves as Vlad The Impaler's house-band, Bauhaus split, with Murphy dabbling in the band Dali's Car before starting his own solo career. The other three members drifted through various projects, such as Tones On Tails and The Jazz Butcher, before realizing their creative strength was when they played together.
Thus the formation of Love And Rockets, a band that glibly brushed off the nocturnal ashes of their former band Bauhaus. On their first release Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven and their follow-up album Express, Ash, Haskins and David J contrasted their former band with well crafted melodies, clean, uplifting vocals and harmonies along with fuzzed-out guitars. After delving into the more psychedelic pop on Earth Sun Moon, they did an about-face and released the ambient techno drenched Hot Trip To Heaven, an album heavily influenced by London's then burgeoning acid-house scene. Taking their music to an even further extreme they then released an EP entitled Glittering Darkness which found them experimenting with their own form of exotic cabaret.
Now on their latest offering, Lift, the boys have melded together many of their different mutations into one being, and the results prove that techno can, in fact, have not only strong song structures, but heart and soul as well.
Frenetic electronica, skittish drum beats, a blanketing bass-line and muted vocals fuel the song "R.I.P. 20 C.", while they further dig into their techno, dance-floor-ready bag of tricks on "My Drug" and "Deep Deep Down", with it's heavy, hip-hop groove and Kraftwerk spaciness. The stark, detached mood of the title track, "Lift", is reminiscent of David Bowie's late seventies electronic musings with ambient conspirator Brian Eno. The songs "Holy Fool", with it's hypnotic chorus and seductive vocals, "Too Much Choice" with lush, mesmerizing harmonies, and "Pink Flamingo", with it's laid-back, coolness hearken back to their first couple of albums, while the menacing number "Resurrection Hex" actually incorporates a sample of Ash's stinging guitar from Bauhaus' "Stigmata Martyr", no doubt in response to their recent Bauhaus reformation, or resurrection if you will, with Peter Murphy.
While they are continuously reinventing themselves, one can hardly guess as to what Love And Rockets have up their sleeve for their next project. Industrial opera, anyone?

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