Music Reviews

When Moonage Daydream-era Bowie steeps in vintage L.A. pop by the likes of 20/20 and the Three O’Clock, the resultant brew is very good indeed. West Coast sextet Plasticene hand pick a bouquet of brightly flowering pop influences, from the ’60s to the ’90s, on what can only be described as a spectacular debut. That vocalist Roger Gisborne sings with a definitive British accent goes a long way towards endless comparisons. While a swirling surge of gender-bending psychedelia propels “Lemon Yellow” into the land of Nancy Boy and Suede, “Big Wheels” is as addictive and indelible as Spacehog’s “In the Meantime.” Plasticene’s rock star commentary dabbles in topical areas of alienation-despite-fame and rampant hipster one-upmanship. “It All Comes Down” is a sharp-edged “Strawberry Fields” on a double dose of Prozac, and “On Your Own Time” churns out a purple-hazed opiate of what Oasis might sound like if they were just hitting their ’20s. The musical arrangements, while avoiding the chaotic, are anything but minimalist. What makes the song craft of Seeing Stars work so well is Plasticene’s seemingly effortless ability to draw from the well many times and still manage to transcend their varied influences. Disciplined melodic invention is what it’s all about. That, as they say, is rock and roll. Mojo Records, 1453 14th St., Box 284, Santa Monica, CA 90404; http://www.mojorecords.com


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