By: Eric G.
When Love And Rockets returned from a five year hiatus in 1994 with Hot Trip To Heaven the band’s music was barely recognizable. Electronic samples and atmospherics had replaced the trademark fuzzed-out guitars and Beatles-esque harmonies. It was a huge risk for a band that had formed out of the ashes of Bauhaus to create its own blend of dark, psychedelic pop, but it worked. Hot Trip To Heaven proved that the band understood the techno scene it had embraced without sounding like a bunch of Johnny-come-latelys.
Two albums and four years later the band returns with Lift, a more aggressive extension of the electronic excursions found on Hot Trip To Heaven. Drummer Kevin Haskins foregoes the use of real drums once again to program the album’s kinetic beats and samples. The tracks are long, drawn-out pieces that rarely conform to basic pop structure, and the vocals are secondary to the driving force of the music. Unlike New Order, which fuses electronics with the standard guitar, bass, drums set-up, Love And Rockets aborts almost every trace of its roots to work within the realm of a synthetic medium.
The band’s choice for a first single is very strange. “Resurrection Hex” overlaps two Bauhaus samples (“Stigmata Martyr” and “In The Night”, respectively) with a pulsing, repetitive bass line in a six-minute-plus roundabout comprised of distorted vocal loops and weird ambient diversions. Points to the band for not giving a shit about commercial accessibility, especially considering there are several other songs that could easily be singles. “Holy Fool” comes the closest to sounding like vintage Love And Rockets with Daniel Ash’s too cool for school vocal delivery and a taste of his squealing guitar.
Lift is a ballsy statement from a band at this point in its career. Such vitality is rare considering that most bands regurgitate the same formula once they find one that works. As this album is released, the three members of Love And Rockets are continuing a world tour with Peter Murphy as Bauhaus. While that band rediscovers its past, Love and Rockets is certain to maintain its relevance with Lift.