Deaf they're not. They do tend to make up beer bottle son stage and squirt the contents at their fans, and singer Enrico Cadillac has been know to jump up on bars and kick over people's drinks.

Then there are the lyrics:

She said she didn't want to romance

Just something casual to wear

"Basically we're a collection of we'rd individuals." says the Reverend (ho-ho-ho) Max Ripple.

As if you couldn't tell that already.

We'retalking here of the Deaf School, a rock octet that started as a conceptual art project at the Liverpool College of Art and turned into, so to speak, a monster.

"It was in 1974, the summer dance," says Cliff Langer, ne Hanger. "We wanted a group and sort of picked people out who looked interesting, you know, not paying much attention to whether they could actually do anything."

The members were drawn from the students and faculty at the college. Rehearsals were held in a part of the campus that had been a school for the deaf. (That answers that question) It was supposed to be ART. Says Langer: "You could say our art became the band."

You could also say that Steve Average Lindsey - a relative of Paul McCartney who wears '64 vintage Beatle outfits - decided to enter the band in the Melody Talent Contest, a peculiarly British affair sponsored by the English equivalent of Rolling Stone.

And if you didn't know, they came in first place, and were signed almost on the sport to Warner Bros. by Derek Taylor, the man who ran the Beatles Apple Corps.

Deaf School was in town yesterday to perform at the Cellar Door and promote its album, released here as a two-disc set of records. The discs were originally put out individually in England. The cover has the indomitable Cadillac (the man, not the car) leaning over singer Bette Bright, hair wisping in the wind, waves crashing on the breakers.

Open it up and you realize it's all trick photography, a real cheat. The two of them are on a table with a beach scene photo behind them and a fan on the floor, and the rest of the crazies in the group are just sort of standing around and acting as if they had something to do with all this.

"What's more romantic than a guy and a girl on your cover," asks Langer. "Actually, we nicked it out of a film book a mate of mine had. It's right from 'Catch 22.'"

The music on "2nd Honeymoon/ Don't Stop The World" is neither a cheat nor related to "Catch 22." It borrows from the British Music Hall tradition, has touches of the Kinks' satire and rock roots, is very vampy and scatish and sounds a bit like the she-she side of Roxy Music, even though the Deaf School folks don't seem to hear that side of it at all.

"You can't compare it to anything before 1976," says Tim Whittaker. "Anything before that is ancient. People in American don't understand what's happening in British music.

Punk rock is very political. It has a lot to do with alienation, a unemployment. Do you know the students set fire to the schools quite regularly in England?"

We didn't know that.

But, of course, if these guys are any indication, a lotof strange things are happening in British schools.