Plastic Crimewave Syndicate - Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom

by Sean Hewson Rating:9 Release Date:2017-11-20
Plastic Crimewave Syndicate - Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom
Plastic Crimewave Syndicate - Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom

Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom, the new album by writer, illustrator and musician, Plastic Crimewave (Steven Krakow) and his chums, was recorded in their home town of Chicago with producer Mark Yoshizumi. Special guests include Bil Vermette on synths and Bruce Lamont on sax.

Ghost of Dread Reaction starts with a sub-Stooges riff. The vocal melody is the same as the riff (which I don’t like) but things get moving when Bruce Lamont adds his Nik Turner/Steve MacKay sax and Plastic Crimewave steps on the wah-wah. Their influences are obvious but where do you go after Space Ritual and Fun House? Believe me, you’ll always need more of this stuff. Five minutes of stomping Fuzz and Free Jazz later and we’re done. There is a quieter, Krautrock beginning to Future To The Ancients, mainly thanks to Bil Vermette’s synths, but Plastic Crimewave also chips in with some searing Karoli-like lead lines. It builds until Jose Bernal speeds up the beat and we’re in Space-Rock territory, like John McBain-era Monster Magnet. The vocals are also quite similar to Dave Wyndorf’s on Tab, with a bit of Gibby Haynes in the sound manipulation. Cosmik Jru’s bass pulse starts Wasted All The Time (of course you are) which staggers defiantly between unhinged Monster Magnet and unhinged Stooges. Plastic Crimewave is still using the riff as the vocal melody but it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Vast Beyond starts again with Cosmik Jru before the full Fuzz-Glam majesty of the whole band kicks in, riding that line between Roxy Music and Hawkwind with the combination of sax, electronics and Glam stomp. Cosmik Jru is in particularly expansive form on this as he chases Crimewave and Lamont. The eleven minutes of No Place begins to unfold with a skipping drum pattern Bernal. It’s a more sedate Space-Rock epic but everyone is still heading for the atmosphere at a terrific rate. Most noticeable, Whitney Johnson on viola, who starts to take things even further  into the Avant-Garde. Jru, Crimewave, Vermette and Lamont respond, leaving Bernal to hold it all together before he too gets let off the chain

Having put out records for over 20 years in one form or another, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate are experienced voyagers from the delinquent end of the Psychedelia galaxy. As equally exploratory as they are thuggish, it is little surprise that they’ve been on Julian Cope’s radar for a long time. Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom is mind-expanding fun.

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