• Ajax
  • Mind the Gap EP (Wax Trax!) 1989 
  • Ajax (Wax Trax!) 1990 
  • One World EP (Wax Trax!) 1990 

Among the bands who purvey industrial house music, this New York trio goes about it with a lighter, more accessible sensibility than most. Rather than concentrating on noisy ways to overpower a synthesized beat, Ajax uses natural-sounding percussion, open-air production (by Ajax and bigtime DJ Mark Kamins), busy bass lines and intriguing stylistic ingredients to dress up its starkly functional dance accompaniment. Unfortunately, numbingly monotonous repetition, routine found-sound samples and the songs’ skimpy content render Ajax’s records pretty useless outside the club environment.

The title tracks of the two 12-inch EPs (which otherwise contain remixes and filler) both appear on the band’s full-length album, alongside several similar rhythmic workouts and a couple of genuine song-type things. While Mitchel (who’s generally prone to shouts) does a bit of wispy singing in “Fast Cars,” she really goes to town on “Haze” and “B Box,” which actually boast lyrics (!) and melodies (!!). More promising than genuinely entertaining, Ajax suggests the group won’t stay in the limited move’n’groove world forever. (Quality control footnotes: One World is marked 33 but plays at 45 rpm, and the track listing on Ajax is out of order on the cover and inner sleeve.)

[Ira Robbins]