American Cream Band Keeps Warm with Latest LP ‘Plastic Flame’
Whether they’re exploring outer space or the dankest dredges of the earth, Minneapolis’s own American Cream are consistent in their dedication to the Groove. By synth, by horn, by guitar, or by shear vocal, American Cream will find the Groove and serve it well. Not quite Kraut-rock, not quite jam band, musical collective American Cream have been setting storied superlatives within the local improv scene for a damn spell. “Band-leader” Nathan Nelson keeps a clutch of alchemists within his orbit at all times, but has never behaved stingily. Plastic Flame is a testament to that collaborative spirit. Masters like Miles Davis or James Ulmer come to mind – resolute to their talent and the possibilities they may create.
Expanding upon a criminally limited recorded legacy, Plastic Flame does a fantastic job of synthesizing the organic journey of a live American Cream set into some classic album’s-length headphone magic.
“Up With You” sets a cosmopolitan tone of community with driving hand-claps and fanciful flute trills (I think), evolving into the cool-as-a-cucumber saxophone pulse of “We’ll Be Your Mirror”. My favorite moment in the record comes as “Lucy Feeling Goosey”, a lolloping jog through scrambled keyboard patches and augmented guitar licks (again, I think). And I’d be remised not to mention area-wizard Jason Kesselring’s space guitar on the closing track “I am an Arrow”.
The moods of Plastic Flame may rise and fall, but the most predominant consistency of the whole experience is how GODDAMNED GOOD it sounds. Recorded and mixed by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios in Lone Tree, IA and mastered by Todd Rittman at Shy Diamond Studio in Chicago, IL, the sonics of Plastic Flame serve the clandestine nature of the music well. Stereophonics don’t get much juicier or more clear than this; one can almost hear the circuits thinking their esoteric thoughts within the instruments.
Long story short, Plastic Flame is an essential addition to an already solid legacy from the Twin Cities’ own American Cream. Check out “Lucy Feeling Goosey” below for reference. There should be plenty of LPs available through their Bandcamp page; and while you’re there, check out previous releases to get yourself caught up.
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Adam Johnson lives in Minneapolis with his wife, cats, and guitars.