For No Wonderland, one of the group’s most sprawling and enjoyable albums to date, Plastic Crimewave Sound got in some special guests (including Josephine Foster and some of the Spires That in the Sunset Rise crew as well as spoken word snippets from folks like Devendra Banhart, Tara Burke, and Chris Connelly) and otherwise continued with the understandable principle that there’s nothing so good in life as great huge zone/space rock epics informed by the power of acid, feedback, and strutting like a mofo. (And they might be right at that, but one hopes they have good medical insurance.) With the slow-burn rise of “Korean Ghost Ship” setting the tone, moving from slow bass-led moodout to full-on guitar howl charge, No Wonderland takes a full CD length’s trip through, well, trips — a few bummers but mostly successful ones that more often than not assume “Let X = Hawkwind” and then get converted into new equations. The distorted vocals on “Far In/Out” ride over an energetic blast that only gets even more gone later on “Rolling Seas,” while the compressed Can-like bass kick of “Into the Future” and “Following Orders” shows that the band can give up the funk in its own way. “Nil, Null & Void” is a fantastic penultimate track, slowing down just a touch to let the core riff assume near death metal impact even while following a classic boogie sound, with the final strings adding a concluding glaze of their own. Then there’s the full-on chaotic freakout of “Shake Your Dying Cowboy Mind,” which if not quite Frank Zappa is still a great rant. Not everything is a total rampage — it can just as much be about folky zoning as anything else, as the strum and chant of “Moving Just Fine” shows.
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