November 09, 1998 12:00 PM

Love and Rockets (Red Ant)

When this British trio blasted off in 1989 with the darkly sensual hit “So Alive,” they reasserted the idea that the descriptions “cutting edge” and “commercial” need not be mutually exclusive.

Now, three albums later, Love and Rockets are as edgy as ever, piling on up-to-the-second dance beats—sprinkled with the synthetic bleeps and gurgles of electronica. In emphasizing computer-generated sounds—the title track features practically nothing else—they occasionally sacrifice simplicity and mask their hallmark acoustic tunefulness. But much of Lift soars: “R.I.P. 20 C.” and “Resurrection Hex” boom with dazzling bursts of propulsive energy, while Daniel Ash’s hushed vocals lend the spare, standout “Party’s Not Over” an air of quiet desperation. Gloom has rarely sounded so uplifting.

Bottom Line: For these Brit rockers, a leap in creativity if not commerciality

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