Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3
In the 1980s, Steve Wynn made his mark quickly as one of the central figures in the Los Angeles “paisley underground” scene fronting the Dream Syndicate. The band’s ’82 debut The Days of Wine and Roses and its heady mix of Velvet Underground, Doors, and Byrds remains a respected classic to this day. Wynn’s solo career, which began in 1990, took a bit longer to find its feet. But since 1996’s Melting in the Dark, Wynn has had a remarkable creative streak that continues on Static Transmission.
Ably-backed by the Miracle 3 (drummer Linda Pitmon, bassist Dave DeCastro, and guitarist Jason Victor), Wynn offers up some of the best slabs of rock he’s ever produced. Foremost among them is the stellar six-minutes-plus centerpiece “Amphetamine,” a guitar duel that demands to be cranked the next time you hit the open road. “I’m gonna live until the day I die,” Wynn sings against Pitmon’s driving beat.
Wynn’s pal Chris Cacavas (ex-Green On Red) provides the organ groove on “The Ambassador of Soul.” “The light keeps shining on but not everybody can see / Can’t find the simple things when I know they’re all around me,” Wynn sings in his best Lou Reed.
But what impresses most about Static Transmission is the eclecticism of the record. An entire collection of Lou Reed homages could easily become tiresome, but this CD rarely wears out its welcome. That’s because it includes the riff-a-rama of “Hollywood,” the jangly psychedlia of “Charcoal Sunset,” the atonal noise rocker “Candy Machine,” the nicely harmonized “One Less Shining Star,” and even a Dylan-esque acoustic hidden track. The only weak links are the virtually tuneless blues “Keep It Clean” and the two chord vamping verses of “A Fond Farewell.”
But those are minor quibbles. Static Transmission is an outstanding record that deserves a place alongside all of Wynn’s career highlights.