Rock musicians, in their attempts to extricate themselves from the commercial and musical quagmire of the "70s are turning to various ideas, some borrowed and some new. Last night at the Bayou two of these were presented.
Magazine, a British group, is an odd combination of New Wave and progressive styles. They blend cold, mechnical synthesizer lines with slashing guitars and pounding rhythms to produce a sound that is alien and earthy. Their music draws heavily from the work of Brian Eno (their lead singer even resembles that ubiguitous Briton) yet their experimentation is carefully tempered by straightforward rock "n" roll. Magazine is intelligent and complex (two qualities which would doom most groups to instant obscurity), but they are eccentric enough to appeal to even the most deranged rock listeners. They definitely bear watching and listening.
The Romantics, who opened the show, take a different tack. Although they are from Detroit, they seem to be locked in a time warp in Liverpool circa 1964. Dressed in tight black uniforms and cavorting about the stage with Rickenbacker guitars, they looked like an early version of the Beatles. Musically, their songs are similar to the Fab Four with simple melodies and bright vocal harmonies.
Their set was exciting and energetic, if a bit monotonous at times, yet they provide a welcome respite from the hordes of pre-packaged rock pretenders who have been plaguing the market for years. The Romantics are also new in their oldness.