Powerman 5000 – New Wave (2017)

Powerman 5000

New Wave

Pavement

After a rather ho-hum release in 2014’s Builders Of The Future, I’m proud to say that this short, but strong effort is probably the band’s best release since Tonight The Stars Revolt! Obviously, it does contain some more of their rock elements as well as the rapping from Mega Kung Fu Radio, but I’m not actually bored by it. Differentiation between the songs is what really worked here as the conspiracy rap/rock of “Footsteps and Voices” serves as a great opener, with just a slew of the past album’s party-rock to be found in “Hostage.” The single, “Sid Vicious In A Dress” is obviously a bit more mainstream for the rock crowd and doesn’t quite feature the shouting from Spider-One that other cuts here do, even though it could be considered a rather loud dance-rocker. “David Fucking Bowie” is another great electronic-influenced rocker, referencing the famous artist while at the same time mocking people who only recall “Space Oddity.” It’s one of the album’s highlights, without a doubt. “Cult Leader” feels more punk-rock than the others, making me think of The Ramones. “No White Flags” is an unexpected ballad, in which Spider-One performs a rather spirited performance. I was a bit shocked by this one, it is definitely one of the band’s most mature cuts. “Thank God” is the heaviest song on the disc, which makes me miss those old days pretty heavily. It shows that the band is still able to create hard-hitting material, they just don’t seem to want to judging by the length of this song. Even though if these guys released a disc as heavy as this track next year, people would be praising them instead of much of the ridicule I’ve seen in online comments. “Die On Your Feet” is another rap-influenced cut which should be a single along with ‘Sid Vicious In A Dress.” I think it’s the closest fans will get to Mega Kung Fu Radio. The album started to wane around “Get A Life” which was a decent electronic rocker, much in the vein of mid-era Marilyn Manson. It’s not bad, but it didn’t leave much of an effect on me. The disc ends with “Run For Your Life” a punk-influenced electronic rocker that reminds me a bit of Billy Idol.

All in all, this might be the best that we’re going to get from PM5K and if this one ends up being some kind of swansong, then at least they’ve left us on a good note. Spider-One did much the same as his brother Rob Zombie did with his last album, except that the formula actually worked here. I guess because PM5K had been constantly changing approaches, whereas Rob Zombie had been trying to relive Hellbilly Deluxe with every album, it came off refreshing to hear this slightly nuanced tribute to the band’s previous work and styles. A little bit of Mega Kung Fu Radio, Tonight The Stars Revolt, Transform, Anyone For Doomsday? And several other nods to the band’s now immense catalogue of releases makes for an intersting retrospective. I’d definitely recommend New Wave and never thought I would at first glance, though after hearing it quite a few times (the disc is only a mere thirty-one minutes in length) I can say that it’s definitely worth checking out for fans that may have jumped off the bandwagon decades ago.

(10 Tracks, 31:00)

8/10

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