audiotrack Express

reviewed by Richard Luck

Published in Issue No. 13 ~ June, 1998

Having spearheaded the gothic rock movement of the late 70’s, Bauhaus (which included David J, Kevin Haskins, Daniel Ash, and Peter Murphy) reached critical mass in the early 80’s. Lamented by goth fans world-wide, the break-up of Bauhaus signaled the end of an era – and the beginning of Love and Rockets.

Peter Murphy, leaving the band to pursue a solo career, released a string of addictive albums to critical acclaim, while the remaining members of the band seemed to flounder in the shadows. In 1983, Ash and Haskins came together to form Tones on Tail, an experimental band that released two albums to underground applause and virtually no radio play. Then, a year later, the band was joined by Bauhaus bass player David J. In 1985 the trio, now calling themselves Love and Rockets, would release their debut album, “Seventh Dream of a Teenage Heaven.”

“Express”, the band’s second album, released in 1986 on the Beggars Banquet label, would be the album that would guarantee the band’s long-lived underground following. Steeped in gothic roots, the music has been pulled from the emotional basement typical of many Bauhaus releases and has had a Prozac spin put on it. Everything here is subtly subdued. The scary monsters have been turned to comfortable shag with a wry grin and a sarcastic quip. The guitars are understated yet searing, the vocals breathy, and the lyrics indisputably erudite.

Lost in the Hollywood hills
Where dreams as real as Fredericks
Are sustained on air by pills

Main-stream acceptance of the band would eventually come in 1988, with the self-titled album “Love and Rockets” and it’s top-ten single “So Alive.”

Shortly after the release of this album, Love and Rockets disbanded, haunted by the commercial appeal their music was attaining. Working various solo projects in the interim, the band reunited in 1993 and is currently promoting the release of their latest album.

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Richard Luck is the Founder and Technical Director for Pif Magazine.