Pioneers of the Intergalactic Frontier(Ashland)

The Silvermen 

Pioneers of the Intergalactic Frontier(Ashland)

With a dazzling retro-sci-fi cover and song titles such as "Lunar Love" and "Dr. Solar," Pioneers of the Intergalactic Frontier comes wrapped in the perfect package for an album's worth of "Man or Astroman?" style space-out surf rock. The Silvermen's music doesn't come anywhere close to fitting this profile, but although listeners might initially be confused, they probably won't be disappointed. The KC/Liberty trio ranges from straightforward harmony-fueled honky-tonk to fiery Chuck Berry-influenced rock to smarmy call-and-response swing to rockabilly raveups, with outer-space sound-effect segments and storyline blurbs between songs providing a link to the album's artwork. With a spy-movie-style bass line and sinister lyrics about offing Batman and Aquaman, "Dr. Solar" features the disc's strongest hooks while working well with its concept. Singer-guitarist David "Zoop" Coonce boasts an impressive vocal range that allows him to switch styles seamlessly, bassist William Brown provides a variety of bouncy backdrops, and percussionist Paul Pace Jr.'s rumbling drumbeats serve as the spine. Add a few more clever design touches (the lyrics and thank-yous are printed in vintage comic-book-classified fashion) and the result is an eclectic and surprising record that's satisfying inside and out.

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