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Chrome – Feel It Like A Scientist

King of Spades

Chrome – Feel It Like A ScientistIt seems like it’s been an æon since the last Chrome album. But with Feel It Like A Scientist, Helios Creed and band returns with some of his wildest proto-punk, space rock craziness in years.

“Nephilims (Help Me)” jumps straight in there with a grinding power-chord riff and wild synth madness that acts like a punch into your third eye and is a great opener for the album. Zappa-esque nonsense-style jazzing introduces “Prophecy” and within a few moments we are already hitting backwards cymbals before a more straight-ahead space rocker takes off with a stunning, catchy riff. The vocals are swallowed in enough reverb that they seem aimed at the astral plane. Stuttering Kraftwerk synth patterns open “Lipstick” to battle against strange vocal intonations and a cautiously melodic keyboard lead that wanders over a steady motorik drum pattern.

“Lady Feline” is classic Chrome — a big heavy groove number that smashes through the cosmic void and gives us an idea of what it would to be stuck in a William Gibson novel. “Something In The Cloud” gives a Gary Numan-style keyboard lead over a wonderful forthright backing and the vocals are, of course, so suitably out there enough that they sound as if they are being beamed down from the space station. “Six” is the kind of psychedelic riff madness that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Zodiac Mindwarp record in the Eighties, but by god that lead guitar just blasts fishes out of the water. “Unbreakable Fluoride Lithium Plastic” has a mega riff, and I mean the type that could destroy buildings with laser eyes. The vocals are almost punk-like as they scream at the sky; and fuck, that lead guitar makes a mockery of any normal tonalities.

“Captain Boson”’s wailing and flailing synth acts like an irritant on the flesh of lizards as the vocals croon over the top and the rhythm hits in and the song enters perverse alleyways where there are doorways to other dimensions. Tribal drums introduce “Big Brats”; a chugging rhythm guitar hits away over them in a phased-out room where the echo is endless. This is Chrome stumbling over their own footsteps and readjusting themselves to carry on the fight for the cosmic alliance. “Brady The Chicken Boy”’s steady beat belies the psychedelic craziness that happens over the top, like a Sunday dinner dosed with LSD, it is both strange and delicious at the same time. “Slave Planet Institution” is filled with backwards noises whilst a sampled preacher spells out their vision over the top with a Charles Manson-type intonation.

“Cyberchondria” has everything that makes space rock great. It has a beat you could almost dance too, mad synthesizer explorations, vocals that rant wildly and a guitar that makes you dream of distant planetary shores. “Himalayanelimination” sneaks around with its riff, knocks you out, steals your wallet and still sounds like the winds from the top of the mountains. “The Mind” has guitar so echoed that it ain’t ever coming back, and a vocal that’s subtle and melancholic. “Systems Within Systems” is a more laid-back affair with synth noises and guitar battling it out to see who will conquer first — this is trip music to the middle of Nowheresville. “Nymph Droid” finishes the album with a Tangerine Dream-style keyboard wash with gliss guitar over it, punctuated occasionally with some beats like a deep space rocket ship passing a planet, a small drifting world that ends the album perfectly.

So there you have it: Chrome’s newest work, and in a world that’s already crazy, do we really need their brand of space madness? The answer is; of course we do, and more so than ever before — this is an essential piece of music for the twenty-first century.

-Gary Parsons-

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