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Love and Rockets

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Album Review

As the band's breakthrough record in the U.S., riding high on the left-field success of the slinky T. Rex homage "So Alive," this album still divides the band's fans to the present. Charges of sell-out are incredibly curious, because aside from "So Alive," absolutely nothing here sounds like it would have gotten anywhere on the airwaves. While Ash and David J were clearly dividing their songwriting efforts, resulting in a rather schizophrenic album, what they were writing and performing were some of the best songs of their collected careers. David J gets to indulge rock & roll and blues traditionalism on a number of his tracks, beginning with the opening "**** (Jungle Law)," a radical reworking of the old "Signifying Monkey" standard with compressed production and an almost industrial beat from Haskins. Another redone oldie is "Bound for Hell," a tale of the Devil driving a train to down below; David J runs his vocals through crackly distortion, playing harmonica while Ash plays a huge, thrashy guitar line. Perhaps his best number is his most atypical: "Rock and Roll Babylon," a barbed study of fame with Ash's sax and a string quartet fleshing out the sound beautifully. Ash's songs do some roots revisiting as well, in their own ways. "No Big Deal" and especially "Motorcycle" show that the man's been listening to some Jesus and Mary Chain, but his wonderful vocal purr marks them as his own songs. An unexpected addition to everything is "The Purest Blue," a radical reworking of Earth Sun Moon's "Waiting for the Flood" which leaves almost nothing of the original.

Customer Reviews

The definitive end of L&R

Let's be honest here. Nothing could have been more disappointing than this album in 1989. It's like hitting a concrete wall at 100MPH. Not as bad as 'Hot Trip To Heaven' or god forbid 'Sweet FA' or 'Lift', but those are after the crash. You've got commercial overproduction in 'So Alive' and others, David J reasserting his inability to write or sing (great bass player though - I'm a big fan of L&R and Bauhaus prior to this era) in 'Jungle Law', and Daniel Ash foreshadowing his excrutiatingly bland solo effort here in 'No Words No More'. The best song, and most like Express, has to be 'No Big Deal'. 'Rock n Roll Babylon' is like an 'Earth/Sun/Moon' song laying around getting kicked in the dust. Look at earlier stuff, and dig it deeply. Tread not here.

Different!

This won't be everyone's cup o' tea, or java for that matter, but get "So Alive," which was their only commercial hit, peaking at Number 3. The vocals are deep, rich and it's a sexy song!

Love & Rock-on!

I think iTunes has a typo on the release date - my CD is labled 1989, not 1999 - but nonetheless Love & Rockets is flat out one of the hot alternative rock bands of the 90's. Their soulful lyrics, grinding guitar chords, and halting vocals make this a must have rock album.

Biography

Formed: 1984

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Love and Rockets comprised guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ash, bassist/vocalist David J, and drummer Kevin Haskins, all former members of the pioneering goth band Bauhaus. However, the group didn't sound very similar to its first incarnation. Instead, Love and Rockets emphasized the strains of psychedelia and glam rock that appeared underneath Bauhaus' gloomy drone, adding elements of pop songcraft, folk, and R&B, as well as cryptic, self-important lyrics. For most of the late '80s, the group had...
Full Bio