Lords of Acid were the only band to successfully make the transition from Belgium’s new beat movement — a slow-pounding late-’80s precursor to techno — to techno itself. The group first emerged in 1988 as a collective of ubiquitous new beat musicians and producers (Praga Khan, Jade 4 U, Oliver Adams) fronted by Nathalie Delaet, who gave the band its identity by delivering salacious come-ons over churning keyboards and a drum-machine groove.
Lords of Acid’s first single, 1989’s “I Sit on Acid,” remains the group’s best mock-libidinous anthem, particularly the remix, which begins as a parody of Front 242’s industrial dance-club hit “Welcome to Paradise.” Both versions are included on Lust, which is basically a collection of singles plus filler. With lyrics that aren’t much more than intermittently repeated song titles (“Rough Sex,” “Pump My Body to the Top” and “I Must Increase My Bust”), Lust plays itself out quickly.
Three years, three singles and one new frontwoman later (England’s Ruth McArdle took Delaet’s place), Lords of Acid diversified their music and their subject matter on Voodoo-U. Providing songs for films like Bad Lieutenant and Mortal Kombat helped the band bring its techno out of the underground (which had never really embraced it anyway) and into the mainstream. Behind a fast flurry of drums, bass and guitar — in addition to the usual panoply of electronics — McArdle doesn’t just play blow-up doll in songs like “Young Boys” (the lyrics of which caused some major corporate anxiety at American Records’ distributor) and “Drink My Honey”; she raps in “The Crab Louse” and sings in “Do What You Wanna Do.” However, other than the ambitious wailing and sampling of “Out Comes the Evil,” the appeal of Voodoo-U depends on how much one likes Andrew Dice Clay, 2 Live Crew and others who find naughty words intrinsically funny.