When they finish a song, people moo. No applause. Just loud, long mooooooooos.

You see, the Inspiral Carpets, this psychedelic '60s-style quintet from Manchester, England, show slide projections of different things -- architecture, nature, geography, art and animals -- while they're performing. And the audiences like the cows the most.

So the band decided to make the cow its logo. And even named its record label Cow, with a picture of a loopy-looking heifer wearing sunglasses. Then one night, after the band played a song, "the audience started mooing!" says lead singer Tom Hingley. "It was so weird, because we didn't expect it. It just happened."

Next, the band started making T-shirts that say "Cool as {Expletive}." Up to 17 different designs. It's this new, hip fashion trend in London now -- to wear these T-shirts and see if you can get arrested.

Unfortunately, the band isn't bringing the T-shirts to America. Nor is it bringing the mooing (although that doesn't mean that mooing isn't allowed). No, for their first trip stateside, the Carpets just want to play their music. Play it loud and hard and well. They want to get the Yanks hooked on the sound -- not the fads.

"I think," says Hingley, "certain bands that come over from England have been a bit eccentric to Americans. But I don't think we are, because although people moo, our songs are about really universal and important things. Like our last single, 'This Is How It Feels,' is about being lonely, which is a universal feeling. And another song is about the breakup of a family."

The sound is very funky. Definite touches of the Velvet Underground and the Doors, two groups Hingley admits influenced the band. Lots of groovy organ chords. Simple drums. Like in Jim Morrison's "Soul Kitchen," but not as bluesy. It stirs up images of big, bright-colored daisies, micro-buses, beads and John Lennon spectacles. It's very cool. As they say, cool as {expletive}.

The Inspiral Carpets are making their American debut with house deejays from the Hacienda!, the world-renowned Manchester rock club, Tuesday night at the 9:30 club. Doors open at 8. Tickets are $9 and available at Ticketron or at the door. For information, call 638-2008.