BEEHIVE AND THE BARRACUDAS
IN DARK LOVE
The first thing Beehive and the Barracudas must have done was whip up an alternate world; the second was start the band to go with it. Like the New York no-wavers of yore, whose early recordings were the soundtracks to foreign films that didn't exist, In Dark Love is a completely believable transmission from a rock & roll underground that isn't, a Pynchonesque resumption of the programming dropped by sea-bound Radio Caroline and Wolfman Jack's border-jamming XERF back in the '60s and '70s. Between the swampy caveman stomp of the Cramps and the cut-down, gasket-popping guitar abuse of the Contortions, broadcast live from a somewhere called Blight, Michigan, the Barracudas even pause for a commercial break and a station ID before slinking into a woozy pop interlude courtesy of sister sort-of band Sheena and the Haze (which sounds as if it was written by everyone in the Fall but only Brix Smith showed up at the recording studio). Those fluent in Barracuda-ese call this stuff "plastic soul," but this is something more damaged and sinister than anything Tupperware ever stamped out. Between the zombie-groans in the background, the beat-up Bush Tetras drum lines and the detached Dee-troit backup vocals, Beehive and the Barracudas are more like horribly mutated Motown, a post-apocalyptic riff on the rock & roll that we should have all been listening to by about 1980—if the bombs had really dropped in 1955. As a band, they're good. As a sci-fi novel, they're even better.