No style is more fashionable in rock now than the post-punk, neo-psychedelia of British groups like U2 and the Psychedelic Furs. Last night the 9:30 club presented The Dream Syndicate, a four-piece Los Angeles band that provided a thoroughly American version of the style. While this band lacked the formulaic droning, predictable nihilism and cute outfits of the British bands, it compensated with a clamorous, guitar-based attack that was as reckless and exhilarating as the best rock gets. As the set progressed, The Dream Syndicate created a growing sense of emotional apocalypse, as though each song might explode out of control.
The band's songs were loosely structured compositions that served as a platform for the heart of their sound, the extended guitar improvisations of Steve Winn and Karl Precoda. The solos, a mixture of raw garage riffs, snarling psychedelic forays and washes of electronic noise and feedback, seemed like a disturbing synthesis of such primitivists as the Velvet Underground and Neil Young's Crazy Horse. The group's frenzied playing captured the best quality of psychedelic music--the sense of pushing limits to their extreme and carrying an audience on a journey to destinations unknown.