Friday, 2 April 2010

Love And Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven

Love And Rockets were formed after Northampton goth pioneers Bauhaus split up in the early mid 80s. In fact they are Bauhaus without the stylised freak that was singer Peter Murphy. Bauhaus released some great singles, and were an entertaining live act, but one got the impression that they were Murphy's band, and were somewhat hampered by his overbearing pretentiousness. I always found their albums hard work as the band seemed to have ambitions far in excess of their talent. When Love And Rockets formed they disappeared under my radar, as they did with most of their potential UK audience. In fact until they came up in conversation down the pub last night and Seventh Dream... was borrowed  I had never heard anything by them! So I can review this without nostalgia clouded opinions, which makes a change.

Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven is their first album from 1985, and although there are unavoidable similarities to the Bauhaus sound, in particular Kevin Haskins' crashing glam style rhythms, the overall feel is lighter and more psych-poppy than their previous incarnation. Much as I disliked Pete Murphy's pretentions, you had to admit he had a good voice, something Danny Ash and David J sorely lack. If anything lets this album down it's the weedy vocals.
Obviously big fans of Barrett era Pink Floyd, a track like The Game could easily have been an early Floyd track. The title track sounds more in the vein of their former selves and is frankly a bit dull - very much of its era. The longest track is Haunted When The Minutes Drag which is a decent song but it lives up to it's tiltle - should have been half the length. Standout track is the instrumental Saudade with a really atmospheric feel and a lovely guitar intro from Danny Ash, and, lo, are they mellotrons I hear?! The version of the album I got includes a cover of The Temptations' 1970 single Ball Of Confusion, which might sound like an odd choice until you remember that The Temptations at the time were going through their psychedelic anti Vietnam phase so it fits in perfectly.
For a debut it shows promise, but solely on the strength of this album I don't think I'll be investigating further.

2.5 out of 5

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