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Record Rack

*** Maria Fatal "Dermis," MoFo. Records. *** Satelite, "Ilumina," Satelitemusica.

March 09, 2001|ERNESTO LECHNER

So infatuated are these two Los Angeles bands with the sound of '80s England, with its spiraling guitars and do-it-yourself attitude, that they both included a song by the Cure in their respective albums. The veteran Fatal does a mean, guitar-heavy "10:15 Saturday Night," while newcomer Satelite relishes every little riff of its Castilian homage to 1985's mournful "The Blood."

In the case of Fatal, 10 tireless years spent working the club circuit have given the band a remarkable resilience, and a no-frills approach to the art of the four-minute rock anthem. The children's choir at the end of "Elige" is particularly effective, in a Danny Elfman sort of way.

Fueled by Ernesto Ramirez's guitar artillery, the Fatal explores mood, texture and darkness with a technical command that places it at the top of Los Angeles' Latin rock scene. Fittingly, Fatal's recordings are unable to capture the intensity of its live shows.

Satelite, on the other hand, uses studio technology to its advantage, echoing Depeche Mode in its perverse combination of frigid atmospherics and red-hot lyrics. This becomes particularly intriguing on "Esta Vez," where Jamie Perlman's breathy voice and the elegant instrumental backdrop provide a violent contrast to the song's savage imagery. The group plays the AlterKnit Lounge at the Knitting Factory Hollywood on Monday.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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