Plasticland: Wonder Wonderful Wonderland (1985)

The upside of a paralyzing pandemic lockdown (ok, there is no upside to a paralyzing pandemic lockdown, but let's just go with it) is the opportunity to delve into the far reaches of my music collection while stuck at home.  Having hit some relatively obscure authentic 60s psychedelia a couple days back, let's turn now to some relatively obscure faux-60s psychedelia, shall we?

Plasticland were a midwestern band from the 80s (kicking around in various iterations since then) who clearly spent a lot of time listening to their Nuggets collection and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd.  Whereas Paisley Underground bands like Rain Parade added a melodic, Byrdsy jangle to their retro-psychedelia, Plasticland were a bit rawer, keeping the music firmly in the garage.

Their three 80s records all housed some fun, trippy tunes, but having spent some time recently taking another listen, I find myself returing to this, their second.  It retains the garage band sound of the excellent eponymous debut, but with some nice pop flourishes.  The centerpiece is "Flower Scene," a delightfully infectious psyche-pop song that sounds like a cross between an early Floyd single and an outtake from the Stones' Satanic Majesties Request.

Nearly as great is opener "No Shine For The Shoes," a slower, trippier romp, with an earworm hook ("What do you do around town?") that will haunt you for hours afterwards.  "Gloria Night" reconfigures the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday" riff for another dark, haunting groove (jangly in the first iteration, then reprised later on the album with some raging guitars).  It's a pithy, concise album; setting aside two shorter, experimental interludes and the somewhat dirge-like title track closing the LP, you've got a handful of tunes checking it at under half an hour -- fun stuff, great with headphones.

Beyond the three proper 80s albums, they had one later record (not bad) and a cool collection of odds & ends.  A later compilation, Make Yourself a Happening Machine, provides an excellent overview of the band's work.

Here's "Flower Scene":
...and "Gloria Night":
 ...and an audio rip of "No Shine For The Shoes":


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