FOR ALL the psychedelic overtones of its guitar-based sound, Gene Loves Jezebel wants, at heart, to be a dance band. Or such is the impression given by "Desire," the Jezebels' most recent American release. Although few of the five tracks are new -- owners of "Immigrant," the band's debut album, will find they have gained only one song and two re-mixes -- the band benefits from this dance-floor focus.
As both the title track and "Cow" clearly show, the tension between Jay P. Aston's keening vocals and the sinewy surge of the rhythm section is what drives this band, not the ringing, circular guitar lines that embroider each song.
This is not to say that the guitars don't do their part in pushing the beat along; note, for example, how well the guitarist punches home the chorus to "Sweetest Thing," the band's new single. But by keying the melody to the beat, Gene Loves Jezebel manages to make the most of its musical momentum.
That's a trick from which Washington's own Eubie Hayve could benefit. Although this guitar-based quartet seems likable enough on "Eubie Hayve," its six-song debut, the band's material is lamentably one-dimensional. The sound of the group is straightforward enough, clearly centered on Anthony Marc Piazza's carefully sculpted guitar sound.
But it neither manages to parlay Piazza's hypnotic drones into interesting grooves, nor allows vocalist Ginger Hopkins enough room to flesh out her semi-Siouxsie singing style. As such, "Eubie Hayve" is a nice start, but little more than that. GENE LOVES JEZEBEL -- "Desire" (Relativity EMC 8075); "Sweetest Thing" (Beggar's Banquet BEG 156T). EUBIE HAYVE -- "Eubie Hayve" (Eubie ER001-86); appearing on the bill with Gene Loves Jezebel on Sunday at the Roxy.