Love and Rockets
Love and Rockets
Before I left high school for Sewanee, I received reams of useless and semi-useless advice from fools. Luckily, I've been able to disregard most of it. Two semi-useless pieces of advice have remained with me, however, and (fool that I am) I feel obliged to pass them on to you. First, my uncle warned, "Don't grow a beard until you can." Sadly, many other Sewanee students never received this warning, and thus remain dateless. Second, my father advised, "If you ever have to critique something you don't like, be brief about it." After hearing the new Love and Rockets album, I sensed this article would not be long.
First, a brief history of Love and Rockets. Some time ago, a pretentious wanker named Peter Murphy left a Gothic gloom/glam band named Bauhaus (after the movement, not the city) to become a disco god. The remaining members of Bauhaus eventually changed their name to Love and Rockets. Love and Rockets made a couple of art-pop albums, wrote two great songs ("Ying Yang, The Flowerpot Man" and "No new Tale to Tell"), earned some money off of MTV exposure, and toured the world and elsewhere. The end. But wait, there's more.
Now the Rockets are back with a new album, a new sound, and a new found love for motorcycles. All of this hype is real keen, but here's the bottom line. Of these ten new songs, three are good, one is great, and the rest bite (in other words, the remaining six songs on this album are aesthetically unappealing at best).
The best song on the album is "Motorcycle", a catchy, powerful, bass-driven, Psychocandy-ish tune about a man in love with his machine. The list of instruments used on this song are -- fuzz bass, guitar feedback, bass, bass feedback, and drums. "Motorcycle" revs forward in a fit of cycle-delic fury as Daniel Ash expounds, "We're just running around/ My feet are off the ground/ Sometimes you let me down, sometimes you let me down." Of course, any hardcore hell's angel is going to beat the dung out of these art-fags on contact, but authenticity is hardly the point here. "Motorcycle" always has been and always will be contained deep within the collective unconscious of every Harley bike ever ridden. The queer fact that Love and Sprockets happened to fish this tune out of the time-space continuum and press it onto vinyl is totally immaterial. Is "Motorcycle" a rock metaphor for modern man's recent idealization of and consequent reconciliation to the increasingly dehumanizing effects of industrialization? No way, dude; it's just a real cool tune.
As far as great songs go, though, that's it. The Rockets implement their new found fuzz sound on other tracks besides "Motorcycle", but to no avail. On "Bound for Hell", harmonica add-ins provide an interesting contrast with feedback guitars and slashed-speaker vocals, but the words are so utterly foolish and the tune is so utterly redundant, one is led to vomit upon one's self. On the non-fuzz side, there's "So Alive", a pappy calypso pop-ditty which leads one to a similar vomitous reaction. (Is that Debbie Gibson I hear singing backup?) "The Purest Blue", "I Feel Speed", and "The Teardrop Collector" are three good songs in the mellow, moody vein of Bauhaus. But, alas, three good songs and one great song does not a good album make.
The Rockets definitely have a new sound on Love and Rockets. Unfortunately new and improved are not yet synonyms. (Keep watching daytime drama, though. It'll seep in.) Until later, give at least three foolish bits of advice per sentence; if it swells, call a doctor; and let's not forget to rock, eh.