No New Tale To Tell

After listening closely to the lyrics a few times, I began to suspect that the whole thing is an ode to Viagra.

With a musical palette that would not be unexpected in a VW Bug

commercial or a Pepsi spot, Lift has the glossy sound that has

long characterized much Love and Rockets music. Co-producer Doug

Deangelis has previously worked on remixes for the Pet Shop Boys and New

Order, which should give you some idea of the sonic flavor here.

Though they earned some props for being slightly ahead of the

electro-curve (at least in the U.S.) with their 1994 album (recorded in

1992) Hot Trip to Heaven, time has caught up with Love and

Rockets: as John Glenn is to the NASA space program, so Love and Rockets

are to techno -- invited to the party, but on the whole rather

disoriented.

As has been the case on most previous L&R albums, songs come in a wide

variety of styles. After a midtempo-yet-somehow-somnolent remix of the

title track (it appears in pristine form as the closer as well) -- a

track with so many sweeping synth washes that one begins to feel seasick

-- "R.I.P. 20 C" starts things off in rip-roaring fashion. A

headphone-friendly, high-energy thumper, the cut balances beat, bass and

rhythm well before veering with the lyric into a techno update of

"L.B.J." from "Hair." "R.I.P." leads into the bouncy "Holy Fool."

A throwback to the rhythmic, oozy pop of "So Alive," "Fool" is the most

cohesive, catchy, soulful thing here. It's also the shortest track. And

it's also the one with the most guest performers, with L&R getting help

from three-quarters of Luscious Jackson. Not surprisingly, it sounds a

lot like a Luscious Jackson outtake, with only the addition of Daniel

Ash's nosy sneer to set it off.

As for the rest, it's mostly less pop, more slop, with the band

stretching tracks out infinitely, cozying up to the sequencer.

"Delicious Ocean" is as undulating and ridiculous as it sounds.

"Resurrection Hex" seems a half-baked effort to raise the ghost of Bela

Lugosi, sampling Bauhaus tracks "Sigmata Martyr" and "In the Night,"

along with snippets from Adam Ant's "Kings of the Wild Frontier" for

period flavor, all amid a laughably serious, multipart frenzy that goes

nowhere.

After listening closely to the lyrics a few times, I began to suspect

that the whole thing is an ode to Viagra, which, given the album title,

I hope to god is not the case. From "Pink Flamingo": "Libido tells me

yeah/ I wanna stay, my dick say/ Go on, come on/ Walk that way." From

"Delicious Ocean": "Where the hell is my hero/ Her pussy tastes just

like nothing at all." From "Bad for You": "He says/ Don't shrink my

penis/ She says/ Don't make me dry." From "Ghosts of the Multiple

Feature": "And he didn't get hard/ And he didn't get hard/ And he didn't

get hard/ And he didn't get hard/ And the girl went away."

In any event, by the time a listener wades through the nine-minute opus

"Deep Deep Down" (which actually starts off promisingly enough -- think

Lenny Kravitz by way of Depeche Mode) and the dreary, (I guess) ironic

"Party's Not Over," certainly some kind of chemical lift is in order.

And the closer, a softer redux of "Lift," is not it.