The members of Love and Rockets -- guitarist, vocalist, and saxophonist, Daniel Ash; bassist, vocalist, and guitarist David J.; and drummer Kevin Haskins -- have a history of performing in bellweather bands. Their first outfit, Bauhaus (with vocalist Peter Murphy), developed the goth sound with piercing vocals, fuzzy guitar, and a heavy rhythm section. After Bauhaus broke up, the trio fragmented, resurfacing as Love and Rockets in the mid-80s. Their 1985 debut Seventh Dream of a Teenage Heaven, and a 1989 self-titled disc, helped set the pace for alternative, post-punk hipness.

All three members contribute to the high-tech aspects of Lift, toying and tinkering on various electronic instruments. They obviously spent hours in the studio tweaking noises. They still don't manage to create anything very memorable.

The title track, which is found here in two versions, bookending the disc, is a borderline new-age instrumental and the worst song on the album. Lift seems stuck in an electronica-drenched black hole, whirling around and around without progressing.

Oddly enough Lift's two longest songs, "My Drug" and "Deep Deep Down," (eight-plus and nine-plus minutes respectively) are among the platter's least tedious tunes. "My Drug" nicely melds ethereal soundscapes, dance beats, and cacophonous noise. On "Deep Deep Down," David J.'s bass lines help create an ultramodern electro-jazz feel that should quiet even the staunchest musical Luddite.

Overall, Lift needs a lift. Although Love and Rockets generally morph themselves to the forefront of musical styles, this latest effort doesn't advance them or electronic music very far.

-- Larry Boytano

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