Love And Rockets
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Tones On Nail: Pop , 4/10
Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven , 7.5/10
Express , 6/10
Earth-Sun-Moon , 6.5/10
Love And Rockets , 6.5/10
David J: Songs From Another Season, 4/10
David J: Urban Urbane , 4/10
Daniel Ash: Coming Down, 4/10
Daniel Ash: Foolish Thing Desire, 4/10
Hot Trip To Heaven , 7/10
Sweet F.A , 6.5/10
Lift , 6/10
Daniel Ash: Daniel Ash (Psychobaby, 2002), 6/10
Links:

Three fourths of Bauhaus formed Love And Rockets, who defused Bauhaus' gloomy pop and linked it with the generation of shoegazers and ravers. More electronic sounds and dance beats, plus evanescent vocals and evocative guitars, lent Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven (1985) the quality of a mirage, accomplishing de facto the old hippie ambition of turning acid-rock into abstract trance. After the commercial Express (1986) and Earth-Sun-Moon (1987), the band reached a new synthesis for the rave generation on the hyper-psychedelic Love And Rockets (1989). But the style was still in progress. The lengthy ecstatic litanies of Hot Trip To Heaven (1994) contributed to found the genre of acid ambient music (like Stone Roses covering Pink Floyd's A Saucerful Of Secrets), whereas the ethereal Sweet F.A (1996) exaggerated and diluted the idea (early Pink Floyd fronted by Donovan and arranged by Brian Eno). While not up to their creative standards, the futuristic/edonistic electronic music of Lift (1998) seemed to come full circle and to eventually make sense of their entire career.
If English is your first language and you could translate the Italian text, please contact me.
In retrospettiva, i Love And Rockets sono state una delle formazioni piu` sottovalutate degli anni '80. Il loro stile, quell'isolare il surrealismo e l'edonismo dal sound claustrofobico del dark-punk, ha esercito un'influenza significative sulle generazioni successive. Tanto gli shoegazer quanto i raver hanno imparato da loro a trasformare il rock psichedelico in atmosfera di trance.

I membri originali dei Bauhaus, il chitarrista Daniel Ash, il bassista David Jay (Haskins) e il batterista Kevin Haskins (fratello di David), diedero vita ai Love And Rockets dopo lo scisma che li separo` dal cantante Peter Murphy. Tutti e tre erano stati irrequieti

Jay aveva gia` registrato un album solista, Etiquette Of Violence (Situation Two, 1983) e aveva suonato nei Jazz Butcher. Lasciata anche quella formazione, aveva registrato alcuni singoli, fra cui I Can't Shake This Shadow Of Fear (Glass), e altri due album a proprio nome, Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh (1983) e On Glass (1985).

Ash e Haskins erano diventati Tones On Nail, la cui carriera e` stata raccolta su Everything (Beggars Banquet, 1998): un paio di EP e l'album Pop (Beggars Banquet, 1984). L'unica canzone degna di nota fu Go!, destinato a diventare un classico in USA, il resto essendo velleita` sperimentali (Lions, Slender Fungus) e canzoni synth-pop (War, Performance).

I Love And Rockets nacquero quando i tre decisero di tornare a suonare insieme. Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven (Beggars Banquet, 1985) fu quasi una reunion dei Bauhaus in quanto riparti` proprio dal sound leggero e psichedelico di Burning From The Inside, l'ultimo album dei Bauhaus. Accentuando le sonorita` elettroniche e i ritmi ballabili, i Love And Rockets coniarono una significativa revisione di quell'idioma, che, loro malgrado, defini` con Ball Of Confusion un nuovo standard per le discoteche alternative, anticipando persino la scena rave.
Tutti i brani sono come rallentati da uno stile di canto evanescente, che in If There's A Heaven Above lambisce il cantico celestiale; ma il brano, dotato di un brioso ritmo da discoteca, attraversato da una forte distorsione di chitarra e punteggiato di accordi di vibrafono caraibico, e` emblematico di come gli arrangiamenti vivano di un moto proprio. L'effetto e` spesso da trance psichedelica dei primi Pink Floyd, per esempio in The Game, ancor piu` impalpabile anche se con sonorita` da film noir, o nella solenne A Private Future, in cui organi gospel contrappuntano una melodia paradisiaca di synth, o nella title-track, imbevuta di atmosfere esotiche e "industriali". L'altra caratteristica del sound e` un tribalismo alla Bow Wow Wow, che permea The Dog-End Of A Day Gone By, qui sposato ad armonie vocali e a un mellotron religioso come nei piu` languidi Moody Blues.

Express (Beggars Banquet, 1986) presenta gli stessi pregi e gli stessi difetti: da un lato una certa dispersione e autoindulgenza, dall'altro alcune canzone raffinate (Yin And Yang, Kundalini Express e All In My Mind).

Earth-Sun-Moon (Beggars Banquet, 1987) continuo` a dibattersi fra quelle due anime, questa volta con arrangiamenti al limite del grottesco, ma ancora con qualche colpo di reni (Mirror People). Earth-Sun-Moon (Beggars Banquet, 1987) still can't decide between sophisticated pop, glam-rock and bold experiment. The arrangements can be grotesquely bizarre, but the Rockets' must be credited for a virtually unlimited imagination, that makes each song a completely different experience, and often a uniquely different one. If the results seldom match the hard-rocking voodoobilly of Mirror People, the syncopated blues-rock of Welcome Tomorrow, or the ghastly, sumptuous ballad Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven, the quest for ever more innovative structures is unending. The dilated, distorted quality of tracks like The Telephone Is Empty and Earth Sun Moon even recalls early Grateful Dead's acid-rock.
Occasionally, the search for originality sinks in awkward and trivial appropriations of stereotypes, like when they mimick David Bowie in Waiting For The Flood or in the anthemic No New Tale To Tell, which is reminiscent of Joan Jett's I Love Rock And Roll (plus a Jethro Tull-style flute solo). The inspiration is not always up to the ambition.
Le tendenze retro` che si erano manifestate in quell'album li portarono al loro massimo successo commerciale, il singolo So Alive (1988), e all'album iper-psichedelico Love And Rockets (Beggars Banquet, 1989). Benche' l'album contenesse alcune interessanti variazioni sugli stili di Marc Bolan (Bound For Hell) e Jesus And Mary Chain (Motorcycle, anche su singolo), il gruppo si sciolse, o perlomeno smise di registrare dischi. If English is your first language and you could translate the Italian text, please contact me.

I membri del gruppo ripresero le loro attivita` soliste. David J pubblico` altri due album da folksinger, Songs From Another Season (RCA, 1990) e e Urban Urbane (MCA, 1992), e Daniel Ash pubblico` Coming Down (Beggars Banquet, 1991) e Foolish Thing Desire (Columbia, 1992), facendo a gara a chi annoiava di piu`. Foolish Thing Desire e Roll On, su Foolish Thing Desire, sono ballate decadenti alla Marc Bolan. Ash tornera` sulle scene con Daniel Ash (Psychobaby, 2002), il piu` sperimentale e aggressivo della sua carriera solista.

If English is your first language and you could translate this text, please contact me.
La sigla Love And Rockets venne resuscitata in occasione di Hot Trip To Heaven (Beggars Banquet, 1994), l'album che avevano cominciato a registrare nel 1991 e che rappresentava una nuova direzione di ricerca. Soltanto Ugly prova a ripetere (peraltro timidamente) il successo di So Alive. Il resto del disco affonda nelle paludi, peraltro in parte affascinanti, di brani lunghi e monotoni (fino al quarto d'ora di Body And Soul).

The moniker Love And Rockets was resurrected for Hot Trip To Heaven (Beggars Banquet, 1994), the album that they had started recording in 1991 and that represented a new direction for the band. Most of the tracks were coming from another planet: the 15-minute minimalist tour de force of Body And Soul builds up a hypnotic shuffle sailed by a subdued, whispered melody, like Stone Roses covering Pink Floyd's A Saucerful Of Secrets. The same ecstatic mood permeates the slow-motion litany of This Heaven, drenched in samples and propelled by a disco beat (with ghostly, coda of distortions, tribal polyrhythms, jazz piano and female breathing).
Trip And Glide has a stronger Pink Floydian sound and could be a leftover from Dark Side: female vocals float over funereal organ and funky beats. The oppressed atmosphere of this song and of the sitar-driven No Worries complements the more positive feeling of the other tracks.
Two of the most promising experiments use jazz as an additive to their acid ambient music, the swinging zombie dance Hot Trip To Heaven and the liquid bebop nightmare of Voodoo Baby.
On the commercial side, Ugly plays the role of So Alive, but its middle-eastern flavors and alien electronics alter the linearity of the dance beat.
The disc sinks in the swamps of its lengthy and monotonous tracks, but the sinking couldn't be more magical. Love And Rockets have reinvented themselves.

The album was followed by the EP The Glittering Darkness, that includes another long-lost remnant (the 1988 Bad Monkey) and an 18-minute jam (Ritual Radio).

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Humbler and less baroque, although still brillianly orchestrated, Sweet F.A (Beggars Banquet, 1996) found again the appeal of the inscrutable with a collection of slightly neurotic, psychedelic ballads that are both subtle and crazy. It's as if Hot Trip never happened: the band disowns the experiment and returns to its classical sound.
With crisp, breezy strumming of the guitars, dreamy, whispered vocals, plus lysergic gongs and electronics, Sweet F.A. sets the ethereal quality of the album, as if very early Pink Floyd were fronted by Donovan and arranged by Brian Eno. The album is organized as a progression of ever more complex and driving songs, as if to render explicit the process by which the unique style of Love And Rockets was achieved. Judgement Day alternates a loud, martial, distorted riff and a laid-back country-rock shuffle. By inverting the sequence, Use Me slams a languid melody against a wall of distortions, thereby coining a new form of power-ballad. Even more spaced-out guitars wails pierce Fever's refrain, over a steady beat and strident gospel organ. It's the emotional apex of the disc and the birth of a new genre, psychedelic dance music. The same electrifying overdose triggers Sweet Lover Hangover, even busier and faster. The oneiric atmosphere is set by evocative guitar reverbs, syncopated percussions and sideral drones; then the ultra-catchy riff explodes and the dance theme unfolds sensual, luxuriant and hypnotic, still punctuated by loud distortions. Even the atmospheric country-soul ballad Shelf Life is derailed by frightening electric discharges. Sad And Beautiful World builds on Sweet Lover Hangover 9steady beat, distortion, catchy lullaby) except that the tone is turning ominous. Natacha adapts Use Me's idea to a John Lennon-ish swoon and a baroque George Martin-ish arrangement. With Worlds Of A Fool the tone has wound up downright tragic and even evil. The firm beat doesn't hold melody and arrangement together anymore and the song structure gets progressively looser, ascending to industrial-grade heaviness. The dream has spawned a nightmare.
Clean plunges in a soul's neuroses: vocals echo in galactic clouds, and guitars fly like spaceships fueled by nuclear reactions in a crescendo of infernal proportions. Here Come The Comedown is a demented, cartoonish, synth-pop voodoobilly (like the Cramps playing Romeo Void's Never Say Never in the Yellow Submarine soundtrack) that crowns, like a pagan hymn, the descent into hell. Sadistic violence is unleashed full-tilt in the Foetus-inspired Wagnerian symphony of Spiked. The album is a desperate journey towards the source of pain.

Truth is that these late works justified the existence of the band the way that earlier works never did.

David J, now residing in Los Angeles, composed the rock opera The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theater of Marvels (Cleopatra, 1996), with Alan Moore and Tim Perkins.

The band resurrected one more time with Lift (Red Ant, 1998), their electronic album. Perhaps the band wants to bridge the gap with Hot Trip. The result, though, is a timid variation on styles that they did not "live", they simple "heard". Synthetic strings and programmed beats abound. It goes to their credit that they never merely imitate. Rip 20C, Bad For You and Resurrection Hex are industrial techno at an intellectual level. Holy Fool is the So Alive of the era, but carries deep scars of funk, glam and pop. The equally catchy Delicious Ocean is an essay on futuristic/edonistic music of the 20th century. The ambient psychedelia of Pink Flamingo, and Ghosts of the Multiple Feature and the lengthy (both 9-minute long) jams of My Drug and Deep Deep Down are what Love And Rockets do best, but here they are "remixed" for the disco with little enthusiasm.

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