Review: Plastic Crimewave Syndicate ‘Space Alley’

I’ve been a follower of Plastic Crimewave, aka Chicago-born Steve Krakow, for quite a few years now. Krakow, apart from being one of the most eccentric and eclectic personalities of the Chicago underground avant-garde psychedelic music scene, is also renowned as a music writer for the Chicago Reader and is the editor/illustrator for the Chicago indie label Drag City fanzine Galactic Zoo Dossier (name taken from Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come). He also runs Galactic Zoo Disk, a Drag City imprint, and reissues label Galactic Zoo Archive, a Guerssen Records imprint.

Plastic Crimewave Syndicate 'Space Alley'

As a musician, he has been writing and recording music under different monikers since around the early ‘90s. Goldblood, Moonrises, Solar Fox, Splendor Mystic Solis (with Acid Mothers Temple’s Kawabata Makoto) and The Unshown are just some of the bands with whom he has released records, embracing vast psych space rock imbued with visceral jazz.

Krakow is a soul whose heart dwells in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and entering into his world is like reliving those psychedelic years made of incense and peppermint, hence, you feel very comfortable being part of it.

He is on a constant journey searching for space rock renovations whilst creating a certain continuity like a TV series feverishly searching for the answer to the next episode which is always full of events and clues. I consider Krakow a figurehead, a holy man of the space rock comet that travels through time and space to then catapult you with his trashy and transcendental music into a state of mental euphoria, a hallucinatory journey of distorted images that only take shape in your imaginative world. His music is capable of inducing cerebral thrills that only a few bands of this musical genre are known to bring.

Plastic Crimewave Syndicate, along with Plastic Crimewave Expanse and Plastic Crimewave Sound, have always been guided by a man with a mission, whose aim has always been to explore every angle of the expanding intrinsic shamanic music universe. The music mantra unleashed is explosive, distorted, mental acid as Krakow is always focused on finding a distant alien connection, his mind blasts inventiveness into space, becoming the new Sun Ra of our generation.

visceral, trashy, chaotic and cosmically transcendental…

After delivering four full-length albums (two of which are cassette-only releases) as the Plastic Crimewave Syndicate family, Krakow is back taking us on an interstellar journey through a Space Alley, pumping our brain with a throbbing crystal injection. The music delivered on Space Alley ventures into an already explored terrain, even if it’s in a more explanatory way, more gutsy, visceral, trashy, chaotic and cosmically transcendental, with a guitar wha-wha mind-fucking serenade accompanied by a demonic other-worldly voice.

When he shouts madly ‘Yooz Yer Mynd’ on the track of the same name, you might find it creepy, but inside he is communicating love because he is a man with the softest hippy heart capable of bringing you to tears. At the same time, Space Alley Chase draws you into space ragga sounds, pulsating and deeply filtering inside your veins.

The nineteen-and-a-half-minute final track, Celestial Father (Lord Of Limb), takes you on a solemn journey of mind expansion, searching space to connect for a celebration of the lizard. The track also has an aura of melancholy and mysticism that finds no boundaries in the acidic magnetism of our infinite universe. As it comes to an end, a frenetic ‘dance macabre’ takes place and slowly goes to rest.

The psych power trio alumni of Jose Bernal on drums, new bass player Rob Robak and guided by The Holy Man of Chicago, Steve Krakow, on guitar, synth and vox, have delivered another of their amazing breath-taking performances which also sees the help of Spires That In The Sunset Rise saxophonist Taralie Peterson, Spiral Galaxy’s flautist Sara Gossett, and proto-vulvan synthlord Will MacLean, while the album was mastered by ex-Monster Magnet genius John McBain. Space Alley opens the new year in a truly planetary beauty.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Lion Productions
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Caccamo