Transform

Monday, 30 June 2003

Powerman 5000’s lat­est LP, Transform, marks a tran­si­tion for the band from goth­ic space-rock to a niche be­tween n?-metal and stan­dard hard­core. Its not as good as it used to be, but at least it ain’t Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit.

If it is any­thing, Transform is one of the strangest calls to arms I’ve ever come across. It is a much blunter ex­pli­ca­tion of PM5K’s an­ti-es­tab­lish­ment oeu­vre than they usu­al­ly spit out.

Tonight the Stars Revolt! was a metal­lic bar­rage with a dis­tinc­tive Ziggy Stardust space­man feel. Transform, is lit­er­al­ly more down to earth. Spider One, is de­cide­ly in just about everyone’s face: the gov­ern­ment, cor­po­rate bu­reau­cra­cy, and es­pe­cial­ly sil­i­con breast­ed, boy­band mar­i­onettes who pass them­selves off as artists in­stead of en­ter­tain­ers. At the same time he wants “hands up to mis­fits, the ones that don’t fit.” Granted, not the most elo­quent of verse, but the point is clear enough.

The mis­fit mus­ter­ing songs don’t re­al­ly do much for me lyri­cal­ly, and on the whole, while the blunt­ness is ap­pre­ci­at­ed, and the drool­ing in­vec­tive in songs like “That’s Entertainment” makes me grin and sing along with in­fer­nal de­light, the mu­sic is what makes the al­bum.

Nothing in par­tic­u­lar is out­stand­ing­ly orig­i­nal here ei­ther. The first eight true songs all rock, but the al­bum kin­da ends flat­foot­ed. None of the songs are over­ly long, most are pret­ty catchy, and good to rock out to, but with­out the ‘space-vibe’ it miss­es some­thing. This will def­i­nite­ly be an al­bum I take with me on long car trips. It re­al­ly isn’t some­thing I just want to sit back and lis­ten to, it does not de­mand that much at­ten­tion.

This is a good tran­si­tion al­bum for PM5K. They ef­fec­tive­ly changed their sound, but avoid­ed be­com­ing a n?-metal clich? by ap­peal­ing to ac­tion from their angst-filled de­mo­graph­ic in­stead of com­mis­er­at­ing with pul­ing whine-songs. Hopefully their next al­bum will com­plete the trans­for­ma­tion. Knowing Spider One’s metic­u­lous and de­mand­ing ethic to be a dif­fer­ent kind of rock force, this is like­ly to be the case.

Recommended songs: That’s Entertainment, A is for Apathy, Sterotype.
Rated: 6.5÷10.