The Chesterfield Kings – “Stop!” (1985) Plasticland – “Wonder Wonderful Wonderland” (1985)

October 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm (David Fricke, Music, Reviews & Articles)

 

David Fricke’s Aug. 24, 1986 review of these two ’60s-revival bands from issue #472 of Rolling Stone

There was a time not long ago when young, isolated, independent bands like these two – the garage-punk Chesterfield Kings from Rochester, New York, and the paisley-pop Plasticland from Milwaukee – had the Sixties revival all to themselves. At the turn of the decade, when the Human League was all the rage, they were cutting dynamite retrorock singles on shoestring budgets, re-creating with vibrant authenticity the fuzz-buster guitars and ragarock hooks of their favorite Chocolate Watchband and Blues Magoos records.

Today the strip mining of the Sixties mother lode is in full swing. But as time-warped rock & roll goes, the Kings are still tops when it comes to cloning the old revved-up teenage macho blues of the Standells and the Count Five. Singer Greg Prevost has one of the best imitation Mick Jagger-Sky Saxon snarls in the business, while rhythm Kings Rick Cona (snorting “Satisfaction”-style guitar), Orest Guran (guitar, wheezy Vox organ), Andy Babiuk (bass) and Doug Meech (drums) have honed their caveman stomp to Nuggets-like perfection.

Stop! is the band’s second full-length platter and features the Kings’ first serious attempts at songwriting. Actually, their own robust originals “She Told Me Lies” and “Cry Your Eyes Out” are almost indistinguishable from the forgotten frug-rock delights – such as “Stop” by the Burgundy Runn and the Golliwogs’ “Fight Fire” (a hot folk-punk gem from John Fogerty’s pre-CCR days) – that they cover here with such lusty vigor. That, however, should be taken as the highest compliment. In their expert evocation of the Sixties garage-rock sound, the Chesterfield Kings are celebrating, not just an era, but the fighting spirit and manic crunch at the root of all classic rock & roll. The Kings may be living in the past, but Stop! is full of timeless energy.

The same goes for Plasticland’s Wonder Wonderful Wonderland, its second LP as well. This delightfully foppish quartet sets the Wayback Machine for 1967. Singer Glenn Rehse and bassist John Frankovic, the band’s principal writers, diligently reassemble the baroque dementia of Syd Barrett’s original Pink Floyd and the Pretty Things’ classic psych-opera S.F. Sorrow with their own druggy modal drones and fanciful lyrics. They’re damn good at it, too. The wiggy processional “No Shine for the Shoes” and “The Gingerbread House,” with its train-whistle mellotron and Dan Mullen’s wobbly circular guitar riff, are precision acid pop. Still, there is real power behind the pose. “Flower Scene,” the band’s loving tribute to a Sixties pop fanzine, is like a heavy-metal Byrds in the bar-band chop of its electric-folkie guitars, while Mullen’s guitar-fuzz fests in “Fairytale Hysteria” and the instrumental reprise of “Gloria Knight” sounds like Hüsker Dü in Pepperland. 

So what if the Chesterfield Kings and Plasticland can’t really bring the Sixties back. They give it their best shot here. Certainly Stop! and Wonder Wonderful Wonderland are the next best thing to being there. 

 

David Fricke

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2 Comments

  1. The Chesterfield Kings - “Stop!” (1985) Plasticland - “Wonder … | Blog posts trends said,

    […] The Chesterfield Kings – “Stop!” (1985) Plasticland – “Wonder … November 23rd, 2008 […]

  2. thedoctorjekyllandmisterhide said,

    i love them

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