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Love/Hate, 'Black Out in the Red Room' (1990)

20. Love/Hate, 'Black Out in the Red Room' (1990)

Depicting themselves on their album cover as cubist psychedelic indigenous hippies camped out around a rattlesnake-engorged hookah, Love/Hate smoldered like an itchy if inevitable L.A. intersection between very early Guns N' Roses and very early Jane's Addiction — but with a rhythm section punking their constricted herky-jerk funk into slice-and-dice pieces like some mid-Eighties death-to-trad-rock Brits reared on Gang Of Four. Almost every song on their debut concerns getting wasted (and in fact, Wasted in America is what they named their also astounding 1992 follow-up); their world is one big bad-trip party that mama told you not to come to, and you feel sorry for the "gang-bang slave girl" and "little slutsy tipsy" and "rock queen 13 buxom blonde" who didn't stay away. But their sound twists itself like no other hair metal — all the way to the surf-thrash Beach Boys "Hell, Ca., Pop. 4" conclusion. C.E.