The Individuals serve up their rock 'n' roll with a touch of artifice and put across their art with a hard rocking edge. The performance at the 9:30 club last night combined the two perfectly.

It can't be ignored that they recently replaced their original guitar player with Gene Holder of the dB's--at least temporarily. Where Jon Klages' brittle playing made Glen Morrow's strums sound simplistic and awkward, Holder tends to be more supportive, filling out the sound.

More importantly, the band's newest songs, like "You Want Mystery," tend to be more straightforward. "Mountain of Love" is a spooky, midtempo rocker, very prettily dressed up with three-part harmonies and Janet Wygal's pungent bass parts. Finally, the band seemed comfortable with the strong melodies and raw excitement they naturally tend toward and were less concerned with sounding clever-clever.

Without Klages, Morrow and his bass player have crystalized as an incredibly potent team--Glenn's frantic abandon contrasting neatly with Janet's workmanlike reserve. With the dB's reuniting it's unlikely that this particular lineup will appear in the Washington area again, but the new material and the contribution of newly recruited keyboard player, Tricia Wygal, augur well for the future.