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Powerman 5000 Transform

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Friday, June 6, 2003 @ 11:16 AM


(DreamWorks)

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Gone are the trappings of art-school costumes and Nu-Rock fantasies as Spider steps out from his older brother’s shadow and gets the lead out with an out-and-out rock album that shows PM5K is a BAND, and force to be reckoned with. The long-anticipated follow-up to Tonight The Stars Revolt (after the scrapped, “Anyone For Doomsday?”), Transform cleverly demonstrates that insanity and a rage to rock just seem to run in the family…

More “Manson” than “Zombie,” but all POWER… Transform suggests the graduation this five-piece has undergone in the last five years. The time away from the spotlight of MTV has only seemed to hasten the need for these guys to demonstrate their hungry “I’ll show YOU!” - ‘in-your-face’ desire to prove themselves. No longer “Nu-“… just “rock.”

Transform leads into the first of 13 no-bullshit all-rock tunes with the cry, “I’M NOT A SPACEMAN…” on “Theme To A Fake Revolution,” and crunches and bounces like The Incredible Hulk in an angry mood. From here on in, this CD makes it difficult for any A&R person to select a number that DOESN’T rock! The ‘transformation’ has begun…

“Free,” “Action,” the Manson-esque “That’s Entertainment”… they might have called this disc “It’s ALL GOOD, Fuckers!”! Awash in guitars and “leads-AHOY!” this is more than just a Spider-One comic-strip sketch book. Drums bash away while Spider stretches his voice and the band adds a much-needed edge to their previous glossy sound. One could easily see this band playing a basement party or blowing out the speakers at Madison Square Garden.

“A Is For Apathy” is Buckcherry-rawk and Sex Pistols nasty. “Transform” comes in the middle of the disc and adds to the kinetic energy, which converts back into kinetic energy with the following “Top Of The World” and “Song About Nothing” as if to show that PM5K is a perpetual-motion machine. Short, tight blasting numbers, now fast-now-slow -- Spider’s voice is rich and the band is heavy, as the band easily carves its way into owning a sound. The second-stage/opening act you once knew has reached its headliner status by tracks 10 and 11 on “Stereotype,” with it’s catchy sing-a-longs… and the throttling leads on “I Knew It.” The last two songs, “Hey, That’s Right!” and “The Shape Of Things To Come” conclude the transformation and offer the promise that there is a future for rock and PM5K. I don’t know if it gets better than this -- but it certainly hasn’t been this good in a while.

Transform is more than just an exercise in rock – it’s a regimen for a new way of life for Powerman 5000.

(Enhanced with videos, too!)

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