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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Plastic Crimewave Sound

No Wonderland

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve heard these guys referred to as punk rock. At times you can buy that one. I’ve also seen the term “minimalist.” That’s far more accurate. What I haven’t seen a lot of is references to Hawkwind. I don’t see how anyone could review this CD and not mention that band. Seriously, I would say a good half  to three quarters of this CD bears at least a passing similarity to Hawkwind. Some of the songs are nearly dead ringers. That connection (plus a bit of RIO leaning) causes me to put these guys under progressive rock. I’m not saying fans of the Hawkmen will like every song on here – I don’t really like all of this. But I will say if you enjoy adventurous music and like the space rock Hawkwind produces you should feel fairly safe in familiar ground here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Formation A Thousand Wings Open
A stripped down ambient backdrop lays down the basis for a poetry reading. This has a psychedelic feeling to it. A female voice in the background brings some Eastern tones before this ends.

Korean Ghost Ship
Pounding drums meets pounding waves and a bass line rises up from this. As this wanders about and other elements join the track has a rather space rock feeling to it, but in many ways resembles some of the sounds that are commonly produced by Djam Karet. It’s a bit strange, but also quite tasty. As this instrumental intensifies around the three minute mark elements of Hawkwind are also to be found. This is killer minimalist space rock. The Hawkleanings really take over as space sounds weave in and out over the top of the droning bass driven jam. When it drops down the comparisons to Hawkwind are perhaps even more valid, but the very early period of the group’s output is referenced.

Far In/Out
Hawkwind is once again in the house. This has a faster edged Hawksound, but with a noisy distorted edge. There are waves of wooshing space sounds all over this, too. Clean up the mix on this and it would be a dead ringer for Hawkwind.
Moving Just Fine
Pretty acoustic guitar motifs are paired with spacey effects in a blend that again is very much along the lines of Hawkwind, but perhaps not as much so as the last couple tracks.

The Dream of Ruby Red Horses
OK, this track has pretty much nothing in common with Hawkwind. What we have here is a short echoey poetry reading by a female.
Rolling Seas
They pound in here. This is incredibly heavy and almost doom metal in approach. A droning vocal section and general movement towards space bring in some (albeit rather subtle) Hawkwind allusions.

Flower Eating Dreams
A stripped down garage band take on a psychedelic prog number is quite cool. It gets pretty involved as it carries on and does wander out towards Hawkmusic later – particularly in the hard edged soaring jam.

Into The Future
Bass heavy, this is another noisy space rock jam. There is a killer percussion work out later in the track and this gets pretty heavy at times.

Promise Of The Electric Glide
Here we have another poetry reading paired with weird sound effects.

New Throb
An industrial pounding serves as the backdrop. Weird whispered vocals that sound like Voldemort from the “Harry Potter” films create another piece of this puzzle. Other elements swerve around in noisy patterns of sound. In some ways this reminds me of the 1980’s Gothic band Belfegore (not to be confused with the more recent group with a similar name). The rhythm section on this does bring back that Hawkwind sound later.
Following Orders
A killer bass chording leads this off and noisy bees buzz around the arrangement. This is one track where I would agree with the “punk” label being put on this band, but they really take it off into more space rock territory and bring in the ghost of Hawkwind again.

Lemos
This is noisy and punky, but still quite space rock in nature.
Improv #2
The cool bass line that leads this off had me thinking they were covering Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” at the very beginning. This is an plodding instrumental that combines punk, metal and space rock into one cohesive mix. It drones on a bit long, though.

Shake Your Dying Cowboy Mind
Weird sound effects start off. Then they create this total chaotic punk meets RIO and space rock thing. This is noisy and quite strange. It’s not for the faint of heart – that’s for sure. In many ways it’s just random noise. I’d have to admit it does nothing for me, but I’m not a fan of Rock In Opposition in general.

Devastation The End Of Alls –
This is another poetry reading. This time the voice bears a Scottish accent and the music has a symphonic feeling to it.

Corrosive
Imagine if you will Hawkwind jamming with a bit of Celtic air to their sound – particularly in the rhythm structure department. The vocals are quite punk.

Nil, Null & Void
This is noisy, distorted and heavy. It’s another where the punk label probably fits. Although, around the four and a half minute mark other layers are brought into play over the top that really do pull this more into the vein of a noisy progressive rock. I really like this section a lot. They needed a change because the plodding was getting old, but these classical strings playing across the tops take it into sublime territory (not having anything to do with the band Sublime, though).

Another Plane
They bring an otherworldly feeling to this. It’s noisy, spacey and very cool. I like it a lot and it makes for a great way to end things. There is a definite psychedelic feel to it.
 
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