LOVE DEGENERATION

Love and Rockets' press bio says that "the last thing they want to be considered is 'psychedelic,' " which is roughly equivalent to President Reagan's denying he's a Republican. At UC Irvine's Crawford Hall Friday, the English trio opened its show with a soggy version of Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd classic "Lucifer Sam," complete with strobe lighting and whooshing sound effects. It was far out, man.

Actually, it was , compared to what followed: a batch of thin ideas and thin songs submerged in grandiose, dense musical settings. The operative word here is dense. Love and Rockets (which also played the Hollywood Palladium Saturday) wouldn't know a good tune or an original notion if it bit them. There were some bright moments, some flickers of hope amid the dark posing. Stronger, more melodic pieces like "Kundalini Express" implied that if you stripped away the sonic sludge--and the pretension--you might find a real song there. Overall, though, severely underwhelming.

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