THE SHAZAM - Rev9 CD EP

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This has been out of print for many years and I found five copies recently and they are the last.

Clever guys Hans Rotenbury and pals follow up their perfect reinvention of the power pop genre onGodspeed the Shazam with something altogether deeper, trippy and experimental. Rev9 embraces more disparate '60s and '70s influences, with occasional paisley pop jangle reminiscent of '60s-loving '80s geniuses The Rain Parade, but to call this mini-album retro is impossibly hard. Avoiding post modern irony, elements of the past, present, and future are tackled with Shazam. "On the Airwaves" effected guitar motif is uncannily Gary Numan, but come the chorus, which builds up with '70s arena riffs, a change occurs before rolling into an almost Quadrophenia era Who section. A melting pot -- which works, without irony, and shows incredible imagination. "Wood and Silver" features a continuation of Rottenbury's radio theme, with a lyric concerning his love for his childhood transistor and an equally atmospheric arrangement washed with Mellotron. As with the following track, ("Okay") and its gentle Fender jangle approach, it would not have sounded out of place on either of the prior albums. And indeed, both songs are highlights of this set. "Periscope," though featuring some nice touches, notably a weird little banjo solo, is rather repetitive, boring, and too somber for the usually funShazam. "Month 'O Moons," on the other hand, is over-joyous, and, though displaying some fine glam rock edges, sounds too much like a parody for comfort. Intentional or not, that's how it comes across. Thankfully "Take Me" picks up the loose threads, and is an exceptional effort. Its beautiful sweeping vocal melody -- very Lennon circa '67 -- and wonderful exotic instrumentation creates a more than perfect contemporary form of psychedelia. With Oasis having attempted the genre in such a bludgeoning manner, Shazam's then and now approach works wonders. Unfortunately, their ability to progress leads onto the ostentatious remake of Lennon's sound collage "Revolution #9" (retitled "Rev 9"). Only a trace of the original is apparent, and, in a semi-successful way, a crossover of The Who's mini-opera "A Quick One," a touch of Quadrophenia, and plenty of experimental soundscapes mark a clearly over ambitious piece of work. And, it's not fun -- there's little tune and it's just not very Shazam. Granted, each song-within-a-song has some enticing elements, like the jazzy use of a vibraphone, mid-'60s pop art attack, garage punk guitars, and some intriguing production techniques. But, do we really want to hear experimental collages and progressive rock from one of America's leading power pop bands? The Shazam are really more about power chords, harmonies, and the fusing of hard rock with sweet pop than creditable artistic musing!