For a few years, it looked as if Love Tractor was going to lead the way to the reinvention of the instrumental band. You could listen to them for hours, swept along by the dreamy riffing and gentle melodies, never giving a thought to vocals on the one hand or surf rock or the Ventures on the other. But hampered somewhat by being only the third best band (after R.E.M. and Pylon) in the extraordinary Athens, Georgia, music scene, the band recorded three neat records (I'm particularly fond of the EP 'Til the Cows Come Home) and disappeared. Now they're back with the striking Themes From Venus, and a new commitment to singing. Thanks to producer Mitch Easter this is the foursome's best-sounding album; he lets pop sweetmeats like "Venus" and "Crash" vie for attention with the old dreamy. stuff like "Crystal World." Since all of it is danceable, I don't care who wins. Tonight, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Todd Eberle.