Somewhere along the line in my FAME reviews, I'd mentioned that I'd hit Hollywood a summer or two ago to catch quintessential progrockers Nektar in concert at the famed Key Club (nice place, by the way, I recommend it if you find yourself on Sunset Boulevard one fine night). The bill included the esteemed Brainticket, Hawkwind's Huw Lloyd Langton (now gone on to the spacerockers' lysergic Valhalla in the skies), and, or so it was intended, Helios Creed, the father of Chrome. That's quite a ticket, ya gotta admit, and I was eager to hear them all, but, for whatever reason, Creed had cancelled. It was still a really good night, but I woulda loved to see whatever it was Helios had up his sleeve for the evening, had he made it. Ah well, I have this CD to assuage my forlorn pining now.
Chrome is one of those bands which attained to a certain degree of fame and success, an outfit that came up when a lot of strange bands were flickering from shadow to shadow (Residents, Tuxedomon, Bevis Frond, etc.). That's one of the things that made the 70s music scene so attractive, that prevalence of experimenteers, a crusade that's also been incredibly well taken up by the latest couple of generations, so much so that I feel, if we can get out of this mode of psychopathic capitalism (and, um, 'psychopathic' and 'capitalism' are an internal redundancy), the next huge leap in music is bulking up at this very moment, but just beyond present perceptions.
Well, Chrome was one of the predecessor inventeur bands and influenced such figures as Julian Cope. Unlike Nash the Slash, who went from brilliant to baffling to weenie, Creed never abandoned his firebrand ways, and Chrome's latest is exactly what a fan would expect and desire: heavy, psychedelic, spacey, punky, and dark. The band's presently in quintet format, always a good idea for music this expansive and explorational, and has managed to remain as bizarrely savvy as ever—to these ears, more so in fact, as everything in Scientist seems to follow a more designedly coherent linear motive.
Clocking in at just under an hour, you get plenty of time to headtrip to it all, so have beer, bong, and ballyhoo at the ready. Amid the Republicanized saltpeter pastures in modern mainstream media-gelded musics, Scientist tends to tear up the countryside and plant new seeds, turning radio and TV squatpoot into mulch. Perhaps it's just the old stoned-out long-haired hippie in me, but, man, these songs are meadows and spaceways I've traversed before, as familiar as Procyon and Stygia, and it's always nice to come back home after so long a sojourn in Nightmarica.
Just to make sure, though, before I got to reviewing this CD, I yanked it from my prolific backlog, previewed a few cuts, and then lent it to several proghead buddies, asking for feedback. The responses were uniform "One of their absolute best…maybe even #1". I agree, and now I'm sadder than ever that Creed missed the Nektar gig. This CD, however, as said, nicely cauterizes the wound. And you might want to take into account, re: the unanimously positive response, the fact that me 'n my buds did a lot of drugs back in the day…which of course means we have a better handle on this sort of thing while we wait for The Mother Ship.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles