Devotees of more upscale forms of bombast may scoff at goth (or "darkwave"), but there's little on Black Tape for a Blue Girl's "Remnants of a Deeper Purity" that's more lugubrious than a typical passage from Berlioz or Richard Strauss. Indeed, the 22-minute "For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon the Sun" is very much the symphonic tone poem, all straining strings and morose melody. And, since the group has neither a bassist nor a drummer, there are none of those annoying rhythms to irk the symphonic buff.
Despite the violin, cello and harmonium, this quintet is equally indebted to the moody late-'60s art-folk of Leonard Cohen and Pearls Before Swine. Unfortunately, songwriter Sam Rosenthal has none of Cohen's literary prowess. His lyrics read like a cross between Victorian doggerel and literary soft porn: "If only I could capture the essence of purity/ Reawaken me, entranced by flesh and lace." Clearly, it's just as well that such compositions as "Fin de Siecle" and the title song consist primarily of crypto-classical flourishes and pseudo-churchly vocal arrangements. Appearing Tuesday at Phantasmagoria with Siddal and Sofia Run. To hear a free Sound Bite from Black Tape for a Blue Girl, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8128. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)