Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
LEARNING TO UNDERSTAND LOVE CHILD.....Anyone remember the early 90s band LOVE CHILD? Haven't thought about them in a while, or perhaps seen them only in conjunction with noise guitar hero ALAN LICHT's name? Well, the trio's two CDs seem to be all over the used bins these days, and though I already had the LP of "Okay?", which I have enjoyed in parts over the years, I picked up the CD version of this 1991 release for three bucks and added their 1992 second CD "Witchcraft", which I'd never heard, for another 2 clams. With my new compact disc recordings in hand, I set about on a project to determine if this band was ever indeed any good. One reason why they'd come to my attention in the first place back in the day were the frothing raves thrown their way from Forced Exposure magazine, then a key arbiter of which records one should buy. If FE didn't opine that their editors could use the entire pressing of Love Child's debut 7"EP, they at least figured they could find a use for 75-100 of them (though I definitely do remember HALO OF FLIES and VERTIGO 45s getting the "C/U Entire Pressing" delegation).

LOVE CHILD also had a habit of listing the most arcane and scum-worthy influences in their interviews: "Oh, you know, we like to listen to a lot of SONIC'S RENDEZVOUS BAND, ALBERT AYLER, a little SWAMP RATS, some METAL URBAIN and of course our favorite after-practice ELECTRIC EELS bootlegs". That debut 7"EP was bound to be a little disappointing, but even so, it showed a band who had digested a good deal of Velvets-style feedback and gentle noise, with a few decent songs popping forth as a result. They even had a track on there called "Crocus Says" -- ooooh, that winking reference to the ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS frontman was enough to get any collector boy a bit hot under the collar. That said, the debut LP/CD "Okay" is really just a mixed bag, now that I've had a chance to feed at it in the digital age. The standout tracks all seem to belong to bassist/vocalist/sometime guitarist Rebecca Odes ("Sofa", "He's So Sensitive"), and are slightly more whimsical BARBARA MANNING meets SHAGGS pop-noise than the swirling guitar workouts that belong to Licht (the other guy's songs are just plain awful). I guess I just passed on the follow-up because I couldn't imagine the band would get any better -- but hey, I was wrong. I read an interview with Licht once in which he deemed "Witchcraft" "Rebecca's album", and to that I say: whatever works. It's a good record -- not any better, really, than the same year's offering from Barbara Manning's SF SEALS, but very much in that vein -- and for two dollars, no less. I bet I don't listen to either of my new CDs for the next two years, but it's nice to know they're there -- there's just enough meat left in the jewel cases to bring me back eventually.