Chicago has a long history of esteemed punk bands, but few are like Protovulcan. Somewhere between proto-metal, garage rock, sci-fi sounds and art-punk, this cassette-only release will confuse, mesmerize, and maybe even inspire you.
“Game Over Now,” the quintessential Protovulcan tune, is some version of acid rock with robotic vocals and a frenetic meshing of a Wurlitzer and droning noise, while “Waking Up Dinosaurs” plants a retro groove around experimental, iconoclastic synth rock.
The calmer of the tracks, “Soma Sutra,” is still a dissonant and busy tune but a bit more restrained while “Shamballa Overdrive” is the most ominous with a dense atmosphere. Side B gets even more bizarre with the loud keys and thick, wailing guitar solos of “Purple Sky,” and remixes by Odd Nosdam and Oscillator Bug end the madness and recruit xylophones and long, hypnotic structures, the latter even bringing in a thundering metal quality.
While the core of the band, Deric Criss and Will MacLean, take up drums and Moog, Wurly, and Vocoder duties respectively, special guests from Tortoise and Tonto’s Expanding Head Band make this an affair you will not forget and, if you’re adventurous enough, revisit often.