Monday, May 4, 2015

Album Listening Club - Express

I don't know that I had heard much Bauhaus other than "Bela Lugosi's Dead" when I started hearing Love and Rockets, but I had heard the in-between band Tones on Tail out at dance clubs.

Love And Rockets - Ball Of Confusion single J-Card
I'm glad I didn't have any associations with Bauhaus, because I didn't have any sort of expectations of Love And Rockets along Bauhaus lines. In fact, I think I knew of L&R more as some of the guys who were in Tones On Tail than Bauhaus. I still love Tones On Tail. And Bauhaus. And Love and Rockets, too.

Love And Rockets - Express - Beggars Banquet/Big Time
But, this is about Love and Rockets. They took their name from the Los Bros Hernandez comic but I don't know that there's been any other cross-connection other than just the name. I first heard the "Ball Of Confusion" single, a cover of the Temptations song from 1970, and loved that. I probably heard it and Tones on Tail in the dance clubs I was going to back then. Oddly, I wasn't familiar with the first Love And Rockets album Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. The first song I heard from that album was when a love interest put "Saudade" on a mixtape for me. That must've been 1989.

I mostly came to Express when I was in college, but I'm not sure of the year. Maybe 88? 89? Definitely a couple of years after the album itself was released. The psychedelic sound of "Kundalini Express" pulling out of the station, blaring out of a friend's stereo system was intoxicating in and of itself.

Love and Rockets reached their sales & chart pinnacle with the album after Express, self-titled and released in 1989. It had some good songs but lost what I liked about their earlier work.

So let's talk about Express!

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1 comment:

  1. Coming off the bombast of their "Ball of Confusion" cover, I would have wanted more like that song.

    "Kundalini Express" is a great song, the whole driving/motion feel of the song. The slow bridge fits, even though it is so different from the rest of the song. There are a lot of good "train" songs ("Last Train to Satansville", "Crazy Train," "Train In Vain," "Peace Train," "Take the A Train", ad infinitum), but this is one of my favorites. "Yin & Yang the Flowerpot Man" also has that train track shuffle beat. "Alcohol is your yoga baby" - what an odd lyric!

    "All In My Mind" twice on the album? Bold move! The acoustic version on side 2 is much more washy and ethereal than the version on side A. I had forgotten how languid "All In My Mind" starts off. L&R do languid well.

    "An American Dream" begins and ends like "Saudade" but ups the tempo in the middle. I think it would fit good on a mixtape of other songs that are like it, something from Lush and My Bloody Valentine.

    I really only ever listened to "Kundalini Express" from this record, although "All In My Mind" got some play on 91X in San Diego, and I do recall hearing "It Could Be Sunshine" as well, maybe on the radio, too. Most of the record sounds familiar, but I don't know that I love it like other records from the period. Love and Rockets are a great singles band, and I like some of their album cuts, but the albums don't seem to have a cohesion of other records that I love. But the singles are *really* good.

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