Dark And Bratty

Lorre recorded "Thief Without The Take" with Jeff Buckley prior to his untimely death.

Inger Lorre is an important artist but, unfortunately, time has passed her

by and she has toiled away in relative obscurity for quite a while. She's a

castaway from the late '80s, when female-led bands such as Babes in Toyland

were clearing the trail blazed by earlier arty divas like Lydia Lunch, who

in turn was inspired by the likes of Patti Smith.

At the height of their creative powers, these women made their marks in

their respective historical moments, and if this album had been released 10

years ago, it would have been hailed as an instant classic.

Transcendental Medication wouldn't have sounded out of place if it

had been released at the same time as the 1987 debut of another band that

was also signed to the Triple X label: Jane's Addiction.

The Jane's reference is an apt one because, as the opening number ("She's

Not Your Friend" [RealAudio excerpt]) demonstrates, Lorre has picked up the art-metal baton from

that band of miscreants and run with it. The song begins with a slowly

building wave of clean, chiming guitars that turns to sludge when her

backing band steps on the distortion pedals and launches into a protometal,

chunky riff that is aided and abetted by a few wisps of dissonant synth

strings.

While the angst-heavy album isn't sophomoric, Lorre's lyrics

occasionally swerve into the trite zone, as in the slo-mo lumbering of "Gibby

Haynes is Next" (RealAudio excerpt), where she sings: "Always just the good ones get ripped off

the page/ get wiped off the stage of a thing we call life." I guess you

should expect a few lyrical missteps from a woman who counts as her

"spiritual advisor" Henry Rollins, a man who is responsible for such

laugh-out-loud clunkers as "I enter the womb of a silent, sullen depression/

I wait to be hatched out/ I am always stillborn." And the album's potential

ace in the deck, a guest appearance by the late Jeff Buckley on the plodding

"Thief Without The Take" (RealAudio excerpt), isn't outstanding enough for a Buckley fan to want to

run out and buy it.

Transcendental Medication is the sound of a moment frozen in time,

but the intensity of Lorre's songs and the underlying feeling that she's

serious about making a big statement keep the album from being pure

nostalgia.