STEVE WYNN & THE MIRACLE 3 Static Transmission (Blue Rose)
Wynn’s last outing – the incendiary and inspired double disc set Here Come the Miracles – was one of the high musical points of 2001. Certainly, in my opinion, bar the Pernice Brothers’ The World Won’t End, Miracles had few peers that year.
As with most landmark works, the question inevitably crops up – “how do you follow that?”
The answer is more of the same with Static Transmission, the new collection credited to Wynn and the Miracle 3, a nod of recognition by Wynn to the trio of collaborators viz. Linda Pitman (drums), Jason Victor (guitars) & Dave DeCastro (bass), so crucial to the sound of this album and the last (well, in the case of Pitman and DeCastro, in any case).
Not to suggest that Wynn and co are standing still, rather it seems that they have managed somehow to continue in the scorching essence of Miracles and why not, when such stimulating and passionate music is the end result. Truly amazing and a tremendous boon to fans of this great rock ‘n’ roll marvel.
So, whilst Static Transmission doesn’t begin with a bang, it opens with the thoughtful, poignant “What Comes After,” a Lennonesque ballad that finds Wynn resolute and prepared for death – “Time gives all that it takes/Time leaves nothing in its wake/And I am ready for what comes after.”
The fuzzy “Candy Machine” begins the proceedings proper as Wynn indulges his Bob Dylan/Neil Young/Lou Reed fixation to maximum effect. The sinister “Keep It Clean” and frenetic “Amphetamine” up the ante somewhat as Wynn spits out profiles of folks careening on the edge – “Slashing tires on the limousines but I’m doing my best to keep it clean” and “Man, I really got going, started picking up speed/I hit 135 and I had everything that I’d need/Started shaking bad, fearing for my life/I let out of the wheel and I flew into the night.”
But like the opening sentiment, Wynn finds the time to be reflective with “Maybe Tomorrow” as Wynn ponders the future to the backing of a cool string quartet. Or even jocular, as the tongue-in-cheek “The Ambassador of Soul” attests. Not too much sweetness of course, as the stark realities of “California Style,” “One Less Shining Star” & “Hollywood” send crashing drums and screeching guitars to upset the cart.
Wynn chooses to close this excellent work with the hopeful “Charcoal Sunset” – “We will walk into the light/We are not afraid of night” and the wistful “Fond Farewell” – “When all is said and done there’s not a whole lot more you want to tell/So I wish you a fond farewell,” and you are left wondering where Wynn’s measured assurance comes from. A mystery perhaps but what is certain is the clarity of purpose that Wynn exhibits – a mature calm that is either fatalism or faith – you be the judge. In any case, it makes for intriguing rock ‘n’ roll. www.stevewynn.net