photo & text by nacrowe
as ive mentioned before in this forum, during my senior year of high school back in the wake of 9/11, i left my family who were stationed in the MIDDLE EAST and relocated to SACRAMENTO with a relative. it was a pretty isolating year for me, but during that period i discovered TRIP HOP artists like PORTISHEAD, MASSIVE ATTACK and TRICKY as well as POST PUNK bands like THE CURE and LOVE AND ROCKETS. and man did those artists make what woudve been a boring, lonely period seem so exciting and invigorating.
i should begin by stating that i am a big fan of LOVE AND ROCKETS guitarist DANIEL ASH and his love of looper, droning and feed-backed guitars that create an almost mantra-like experience for the listener. its a sonic texture that is very apparent in later more experimental ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands like JANE'S ADDICTION and FAITH NO MORE. this can be seen throughout the LOVE AND ROCKETS (BEGGARS BANQUET, 1989) record on standout tracks like "****(JUNGLE LAW)," "MOTORCYCLE" and "NO BIG DEAL" which both have a propulsive groove that never lets up. in fact, it is the irrepressible sense of pummeling rhythm that makes this band standout from its former incarnation in the seminal POST PUNK outfit BAUHAUS, of which all members (DANIEL ASH, DAVID J and KEVIN HASKINS) are original members of.
whats funny to me is that "SO ALIVE" was the big hit single from the record (and their catalogue in general) as it is such a sonically uncharacteristic song for the group. ASH's singing as well as the female backing vocals are more prominent in the mix than minimal bass groove that undergirds the minimalist track. my preference with regard to their more downtempo songs that explore an interior space using DELAY, CHORUS and E-BOW effects include "I FEEL SPEED" and "NO WORDS NO MORE." both those tracks really find ASH exploring interesting aural textures with unconventional riffs and chord progressions. its probably the reason i have continually revisited the LOVE AND ROCKETS catalogue since discovering back in high school.
it still sounds fresh. definitely worth checking out.