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ZODIAC MINDWARP AND THE LOVE REACTION (Buy CDs by this artist)
High Priest of Love (UK Food) 1986
Tattooed Beat Messiah (UK Vertigo) 1988

Perhaps hoping to repeat the career feat of ex-Smash Hits editor-cum-Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant, onetime Flexipop! magazine art director Mark Manning adopted the grungelicious psychedelic motor-thug persona of Zodiac Mindwarp, concocted a ridiculous story about being from another planet, assembled a backing band with names like Slam Thunderhide, Trash D Garbage and Cobalt Stargazer, and set about to test the gullibility of the pop world with a great single called "Prime Mover." Brilliantly produced by Liverpool coolsters Dave Balfe (ex-Teardrop Explodes) and future KLF mastermind Bill Drummond, the band's sole US LP, Tattooed Beat Messiah, crosses AC/DC with T. Rex: a back-straightening, breath-taking guitar assault, intentionally low-brow wiseacre lyrics and chanted choruses that demand enthusiastic attention. The melodic headbanging metal power could give Motörhead, Judas Priest or Van Halen a youthful run for their money; one can savor the selfconscious stupidity of songs like "Backseat Education" and "Let's Break the Law" either as sophisticated parody or the real thing. After leaving the Love Reaction, bassist Kid Chaos (aka Haggis) played in the Cult.

[Ira Robbins]