Coming Down

On this, his first solo LP, Love and Rockets’ singer and guitarist Daniel Ash has created a sophisticated version of the trendy, dark, industrial music that currently echoes throughout the dim corridors of the hippest dance clubs. That may not sound romantic, but the way Ash does it, it is. The record is also insidiously listenable — all thick, pulsating drums and sinewy melodies, topped by Ash’s studio-processed and thus inhuman-sounding vocals. This sound, though severely lacking in passion, is somehow expressive of the languorous apathy of a modern-day poetic sensibility. The album is made up of covers — the Beatles’ ”Day Tripper,” for instance, and the old standard ”Me and My Shadow,” sonically twisted into compelling, harsh dance tracks — and originals that are inspired updates of older rock songs: the Ash-penned ”Walk This Way” sounds like nothing so much as Santana’s ”Oye Como Va” gone gothic. Ash’s solo material bears more of a resemblance to Love and Rockets’ frantic rock sound than the more acoustically oriented solo album his Love and Rockets colleague David J released last year. Ash’s work is a good deal more sophisticated, however. This is especially true of the album’s elegant closing ballad, ”Coming Down,” which is about the joys of getting high (a faster version, ”Coming Down Fast,” opens the LP). Either version would make the perfect soundtrack to a movie set in an opium den in Paris in the ’20s — or one about the druggy Manhattan decadence of the early ’90s. Given the risks that real-life decadence now incurs, listening to Coming Down is a lot better than being there. A-

Coming Down
  • Music