Plasticland

Record review

Reissues & Box Sets

Plasticland

Make Yourself a Happening Machine(Ryko)

Formed in 1980 by Milwaukee-based childhood chums Glenn Rehse and John Frankovic, Plasticland was one of the few Eighties psychedelic bands to transcend the thrift-store affectations of the short-lived Paisley Underground. Even if they were unabashed revivalists, they still earned a spot in music history. Between Rehse and Frankovic's scholarly appreciation of British psych-rock stompers like the Pretty Things and their previous collaboration in a Teutonic space-rock band called Arousing Polaris, Plasticland had an extra-thick arsenal of mind-expanding aplomb. This jam-packed, one-disc retrospective is a 30-song kaleidoscopic trip of rainbow-flavored pop nuggets and florid lyrical abstractions that recall Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. True to their genre's oft-confounding essence, Plasticland eschews chronology by leading off with the languidly buzzing title track from 1995's hard-to-find Dapper Snappings. The band's fuzzed-up origins are documented with succinct freak-outs like "Too Many Fingers" and "Euphoric Trap Door Shoes." The dandiest of them all gets its warble-laden due on "Pop! Op Drops," which clocks in at just over a minute. Culinary themes continue with "The Gingerbread House," which builds from a lonely mellotron into a fiery fantasia gone mad. Although Happening Machine omits a few key tracks like "Disengaged From the World," it remains an indispensable overview of an underappreciated band.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle