Album Listening Club – Express

I don’t know that I had heard much Bauhaus other than “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” when I started hearing Love and Rockets, but I had heard the in-between band Tones on Tail out at dance clubs.

Love And Rockets – Ball Of Confusion single J-Card

I’m glad I didn’t have any associations with Bauhaus, because I didn’t have any sort of expectations of Love And Rockets along Bauhaus lines. In fact, I think I knew of L&R more as some of the guys who were in Tones On Tail than Bauhaus. I still love Tones On Tail. And Bauhaus. And Love and Rockets, too.

Love And Rockets – Express – Beggars Banquet/Big Time

But, this is about Love and Rockets. They took their name from the Los Bros Hernandez comic but I don’t know that there’s been any other cross-connection other than just the name. I first heard the “Ball Of Confusion” single, a cover of the Temptations song from 1970, and loved that. I probably heard it and Tones on Tail in the dance clubs I was going to back then. Oddly, I wasn’t familiar with the first Love And Rockets album Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. The first song I heard from that album was when a love interest put “Saudade” on a mixtape for me. That must’ve been 1989.

I mostly came to Express when I was in college, but I’m not sure of the year. Maybe 88? 89? Definitely a couple of years after the album itself was released. The psychedelic sound of “Kundalini Express” pulling out of the station, blaring out of a friend’s stereo system was intoxicating in and of itself.

Love and Rockets reached their sales & chart pinnacle with the album after Express, self-titled and released in 1989. It had some good songs but lost what I liked about their earlier work.

So let’s talk about Express!

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One thought on “Album Listening Club – Express

  1. Coming off the bombast of their "Ball of Confusion" cover, I would have wanted more like that song. "Kundalini Express" is a great song, the whole driving/motion feel of the song. The slow bridge fits, even though it is so different from the rest of the song. There are a lot of good "train" songs ("Last Train to Satansville", "Crazy Train," "Train In Vain," "Peace Train," "Take the A Train", ad infinitum), but this is one of my favorites. "Yin & Yang the Flowerpot Man" also has that train track shuffle beat. "Alcohol is your yoga baby" – what an odd lyric!"All In My Mind" twice on the album? Bold move! The acoustic version on side 2 is much more washy and ethereal than the version on side A. I had forgotten how languid "All In My Mind" starts off. L&R do languid well."An American Dream" begins and ends like "Saudade" but ups the tempo in the middle. I think it would fit good on a mixtape of other songs that are like it, something from Lush and My Bloody Valentine.I really only ever listened to "Kundalini Express" from this record, although "All In My Mind" got some play on 91X in San Diego, and I do recall hearing "It Could Be Sunshine" as well, maybe on the radio, too. Most of the record sounds familiar, but I don't know that I love it like other records from the period. Love and Rockets are a great singles band, and I like some of their album cuts, but the albums don't seem to have a cohesion of other records that I love. But the singles are *really* good.


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