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Pop Music Reviews

Pere Ubu: Hook-Filled and Double-Jointed

July 22, 1989|STEVE HOCHMAN

"Home" was more or less the theme of Pere Ubu's concert Thursday at the Roxy. But given that it was Pere Ubu, the highly original and highly influential band that emerged out of Cleveland in the mid-'70s, this view of home had a slightly skewed perspective: "We spell it H-O-L-L-M-J," announced singer David Thomas cryptically.

At this show, the Ubu domicile contained more than enough hooks to hang your hat on. Where Pere Ubu was once known for disjointed music, now the band sounds double-jointed, more than ever trading in memorable melodies and dynamic rhythms. Still, all the acute angles that made Ubu Ubu in the first place remain, especially in the electronic bleats, squiggles and sound effects supplied by new keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman.

And there's nothing particularly cryptic about Thomas' lyrics--singular yet direct distillations of the complex emotions one encounters sitting by the hearth or driving with the family through the desert. The girthful and mirthful Thomas underlined the feelings by flailing his hands like toy guns and pounding his fist over his heart.

What's more, Pere Ubu even left the crowd twisting by closing with its old fave "The Modern Dance." No place like home, indeed.

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