LADYTRON, 604 (Emperor Norton) Ladytron are frowning, black-clad art and fashion kids who play detached electronic songs. That doesn't mean they don't have feelings too,


CD Reviews

LADYTRON, 604 (Emperor Norton) Ladytron are frowning, black-clad art and fashion kids who play detached electronic songs. That doesn't mean they don't have feelings too, though. Sure, they've got Kraftwerk's clinical precision down pat—"He Took Her to a Movie" uses "The Model" as its foundation and repackages it in a smart homage. Ladytron's pop sensibilities and songwriting range, however, are broader than Kraftwerk's were; the programming sets the mood but never at the expense of the song. "Another Breakfast with You" uses "robot music" as its backdrop, but the song's description of a humdrum relationship is too engaging to support any notion that the music is sterile. The drama within "The Way That I Found You" and "Playgirl" likewise allows the group to strike the perfect balance between girl, boy, and machine. The Human League is the obvious point of reference for this formula, only Ladytron seem to make it work with even greater consistency. Strains of Young Marble Giants and New Order's best material can also be heard, yet it wouldn't be fair to say that Ladytron are anything but thoroughly current. If "Paco!"—a breezy department store romp—isn't a staple on haute couture catwalks this spring, then something's seriously amiss. Ladytron may well be the group that will force many who think they don't like electronic music to change their minds. —Paul Fontana

PEACHES, The Teaches of Peaches (Kitty-Yo) As far as sin, skin, and scandal go, Germany's Peaches mine the same soft-core porn territory as hip-hop's premiere pottymouth Li'l Kim: Both women wanna get it on and get off. And while it's debatable whether such explicit pillow talk empowers women or panders to straight male fantasies (or both), there's something refreshing about women so frankly turning the tables on rap and rock's boys club. "You came to see a rock show/A big gigantic cock show!" Peaches hilariously mocks on her aggro-disco debut, The Teaches of Peaches, a porny 'n' horny hybrid of rudimentary rock tectonics and bionic beats. Armed with only an MC505 groovebox and some serious S&M fetishes, Peaches wants to turn the guys' locker room into a woman's world of calling the shots. Unfortunately, her part-spoken, part-sung songs are so exclusively sex-centered that by album's end, she comes off like little more than a parody of herself. After all, you can hear only so many Lords of Acid-styled songs like "Cum Undun" and "Diddle My Skiddle" before both the rhythms and rhymes become repetitive and utterly predictable ("C'mon hot rod!/Give me your wad!"). Which is unfortunate because at a time when music is overpopulated with misogynists peddling rape rock, more than ever we need brazen and musically adventurous artists like Li'l Kim who are willing to teach the testosterone-prone a lesson or two.—Jimmy Draper

LORDS OF ACID, Farstucker (Never Records) Four out of every five Lords songs are about getting fucked; the rest are about getting fucked up. This doesn't take into account the occasional gem that is about getting fucked and getting fucked up, simultaneously or successively. That's pretty much all these Belgians have to offer, other than splendid song titles like "Lick my Chakra," "The Crablouse," and "I Sit on Acid." Their live show is the most deliciously tasteless bomb since Caligula; the orgiastic spectacle easily compensates for sonic shortcomings. Farstucker adheres to the Lords' tried-and-true formula: shredding industrial riffs, doomsday keyboard groans, and unsettling lyrics about unsettling sex. This would suit me fine were the final product not as ceaselessly repetitive and obvious as any porno. Two tracks in particular, "Rover Take Over" and "I Like It" (respectively about butt-fucking and cross-dressing), are uneventful variations on the Lords' sexiest, funniest song, "Pussy." Don't get me wrong—I'd love to laugh at lines like "When he pulled it out/he said, 'my dick doesn't fit!'/and started to scream/'my baggie smells like shit,'" but junior high was years ago. Subtlety is erotic too! LOA's amped-up blatancy is akin to a proud writer lazily pounding out "fuck" after "fuck" just to draw attention to his work. Oh, wait. . . . —Andrew Bonazelli

DOUBLE TROUBLE, Been a Long Time (Tone-Cool) As evidenced by the surging popularity of flashy, derivative whiz kids like Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (both of whom play on this album, in addition to fiery fretmen Eric Johnson, Doyle Bramhall, and Charlie Sexton), the late Stevie Ray Vaughan left a definite void in the contemporary blues market. I suppose if one were in desperate need of a Vaughan fix, then the Double Trouble record might do the trick; unfortunately the whole album is mired in such an air of worshipful stagnation that I found the experience rather oppressive. As Sexton, Bramhall, Lang, Malford Milligan, and even brother Jimmie Vaughan take their turns behind the mike, it quickly becomes less homage and more about earnest imitation. The principals here are bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, who served as Vaughan's rhythm section for many years. Though their playing is granite solid, their compositional skills seldom rise above serviceable springboards for the next hotshot guitarist to blow his cookies. Guest vocals by Susan Tedeschi (on Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," of all things) and Lou Ann Barton provide a little welcome and sassy relief, but overall, Been a Long Time proves to be a pedestrian memento to the cult of Stevie. —John Chandler

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