Hot Dragon Soup

The Soup Dragons’ last album, Lovegod. sold about 350,000 units in the U.S. and established this Edinburgh four-piece as a force on the college charts with the two-sided hit single “I’m Free” and the immortal “Crotch Deep Trash.”Their next album.Hotwired (Big Life/Mercury), could take them a lot further if they get a break from radio and MTV. Singer and chief songwriter Sean Dickson descends from the school of rock vocalizing more or less founded by Marc Bolan of T. Rex and most prominently practiced today by Michael Hutchence of INXS: he growls sensually rather than screaming outrageously, a useful ingredient if you wish to play rock and roll and inspire trendies in the club scene. As a band, the Dragons seem to have learned their lessons from sixties psychedelia with just enough contemporary World Beat to make their percussion distinctive while keeping the basic rock-and-roll backbeat. In other words, they sound old and new at the same time, and that’s a highly salable paradox in popular music. Murderous guitar hooks, eerie harmonica, and rhythmic drive compensate for a few clichès in the lyrics and special effects that are sometimes gratuitous. The Soup Dragons’ American tour starts in June. —C.M.Y.