New Tales To Tell: A Tribute To Love And Rockets
Here’s a brief history of Love And Rockets, the act given the tribute treatment on New Tales To Tell. After post-punk goth-fathers Bauhaus split, vocalist Peter Murphy went solo, while the rest of the band–guitarist/saxophonist/vocalist Daniel Ash, bassist/vocalist David J and drummer/keyboardist Kevin Haskins–formed Love And Rockets. The trio’s sound was as moody as that of Bauhaus, but over the course of seven albums, they incorporated far more nods to glam, psych-pop and folk-rock–culminating in the slick, soul-influenced pop smash “So Alive.” The band split in 1999, but reunited for a few festivals last year.
The artists on the tribute album are what you might expect–i.e., drugged-out-disco vets the Dandy Warhols, Los Angeles synth-pop upstarts War Tapes and stoner-metal geezers Monster Magnet. Still, Tales’ highlights come from the goth-leaning acts. AFI side project Blaqk Audio’s version of “No New Tale To Tell” keeps the swinging groove of the original and adds a pulsing disco beat and glassy piano, while Puscifer (aka Maynard James Keenan of Tool) put a glitchy, electro-industrial spin on “Holiday On The Moon.” Film School’s fantastic take on “An American Dream” adds gale-force distortion and swirling effects and A Place To Bury Strangers’ version of “The Light” is so punishing it just might conjure a hellmouth.
Save for Snowden’s excellent, lonely-winter electro murmur “No Words No More” and Better Than Ezra’s sped-up take on “So Alive”-which, shockingly, is great–Tales’ rock acts stumble. The Pixies’ Black Francis strains and yowls through a stripped-down, wince-inducing “All In My Mind,” while the Flaming Lips’ interpretation of “Kundalini Express” sounds like a toddler plunking out the Dr. Mario theme on a Casio. Chantal Claret of Morningwood’s Broadway-strut version of “Lazy” (think Chicago) is too cloying and cutesy to be clever.
This disparity all makes sense, because at their core, Love And Rockets weren’t best as a straightforward pop band; they thrived on the slightly crooked side of life. And even though Tales runs a tad too long, the album should teach the uninitiated about one of the more underrated bands of the ’80s and ’90s. (ARSENAL ROCK N ROLL/JUSTICE) Annie Zaleski
GO DOWNLOAD: Film School’s “An American Dream”