Chrome

Alien Soundtracks

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With Creed recruited to replace original member Mike Low (though allegedly Edge initially turned Creed down after the latter appeared wearing a pirate outfit or something similar), Chrome started kicking into high gear at last. While Spain and Lambdin weren't out of the picture yet, cowriting half the songs with Edge, Creed's mind-melting guitar swiftly took prominence, turning a wiggy band into a total headtrip. Rather than just aiming at acid-rock styling, Creed stuffed his fretbending into an evil, compressed aggro-sound, at once psychedelic and totally in-your-face. Edge equals the activity by stepping into the vocal role himself, sounding like Iggy on a live wire with occasional attempts at weird, wailed crooning, while his electronics and drumming starts sounding a lot more vicious and totally scuzzed as well. It's not the short sharp shock of punk rock per se -- it just sounds like the title puts it, alien, sounds and TV samples firing out of nowhere and throwing the listener off balance. That many numbers are constructed out of short fragments adds to the weird overlay. Even the quieter numbers like "All Data Lost" play around with echo and drone to create disturbing results. The songs themselves allegedly were recorded as the soundtrack to a live sex show, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the sex and sci-fi combination of much of the lyrics. Not to mention the titles -- to quote some at random: "Nova Feedback," "Magnetic Dwarf Reptile," and the truly hilarious "Pigmies in Zee Dark" (there's some creepy crooning on this one) and "Slip It to the Android." The artwork adds to the weird effect -- a hand-colored late fifties 'cool' living room and busty babe setup with the band's and album name hand-scrawled in usual Chrome fashion over it, plus huge disembodied eyes and lips that make everything really disturbing. Overall, the combination of screwy sound and art on a budget placed Chrome as something like West Coast cousins of early Pere Ubu and Destroy All Monsters -- not a bad place to be.

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