Singer Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant were in no mood for nostalgia on Monday at the Hollywood Grand. In the American debut of their new band Electrafixion, their supercharged psychedelia left their '80s heyday with Echo & the Bunnymen an irrelevant memory.
On display Monday was not a band of veterans struggling to resurrect an old reputation, but a new act with energy enough to challenge such new British rock contenders as Oasis. An amped-up version of the Bunnymen's "Do It Clean" was their only nod to the past.
Throat problems for McCulloch postponed the tour by two days, but whatever was bothering the singer didn't stop him from enjoying a few drags on a cigarette, or from roaring above the lowdown funk-blues of "Feel My Pulse," which opens the band's new "Burned" album. On stage, Electrafixion's urgency improved on the album's mix of mystic swirl and a new dual-guitar crunch.
If Electrafixion took pains to avoid the old days, second-billed Echobelly happily plumbed the '80s new-wave scrapbook, from Debbie Harry to the Smiths. The success of its new "On" album on the British charts is largely due to singer Sonya Aurora Madan, whose vocals Monday were casually upbeat, while given to Morrissey-like moments of deep bliss and sorrow. Echobelly created an alluring pop sound, but too often lacked the hooks expected of their genre.
* \o7 Electrafixion plays on Sunday at the Galaxy Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, 8 p.m. $15. (714) 957-0600.\f7