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Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3
Down There

Steve Wynn has been on a roll with his last bunch of albums; the last two (Here Come the Miracles and Static Transmission) and this new one forming a fantastic trilogy of turbocharged guitars, pounding backbeats and superlative songwriting. This trio of records harks back to Wynn's glory days in the Dream Syndicate (well, the later period with Paul B. Cutler on lead guitar at least; I'm not sure anybody could recapture the amazing chemistry between Wynn and original lead guitarist Carl Precoda). Go directly to the astounding Days of Wine and Roses and the more classic-rock, but very nearly as good, Medicine Show for evidence.

A lot of the credit for the last few albums goes to the white-hot Miracle 3 - ace drummer and arranger Linda Pitmon, pumping bassist Dave DeCastro and scorching lead guitarist Jason Victor. (where did THIS guy come from ???) Wynn seems to be revelling in having a proper band again, as opposed to the revolving list of sidemen and women on his first batch of solo albums; the consistency of songwriting and the raw energy of the performances are a joy to behold.

There's nary a less than stellar track on this whole record. It blasts out of the gate with "Wired"'s buzzsaw guitars and distorted vocals, then hits cruising altitude with the driving, somewhat creepy "Cindy, It Was Always You", one of those noir-ish storytelling songs that Wynn excels at. The pace mostly stays at breathtaking for the rest of the CD, slowing down a little for "The Deep End", where insistently strummed acoustic guitars build up to a climax of wicked slide from Vincent, finally drawing to a close with "No Tomorrow", where another instant-classic Wynn tune and more masterful words combine to make a memorable closer.

The production throughout the album is stellar; drums crack, bass pounds and guitars sputter and roar. If you haven't come across Wynn's enormous talents until now, this CD is a fine introduction that will leave you wanting more. If you fall in love, track back through the solo albums back to '97's Sweetness and Light, pick up the ironically-titled What I Did When My Band Broke Up for a good overview of the preceding solo records, and grab anything by the mighty Dream Syndicate, but especially the first two albums and the double CD version of Live at Raji's.

That Steve Wynn isn't a star of the stature of - I dunno, at least Morrissey, if not his evident idols Lou Reed and Neil Young - by now is a mystery to me, but the benefit for the rest of us is that we can catch the man and his shit hot band in small clubs around the world for a pittance. Check out the current tour dates on the wynnweb and get thyselves there !

-Gareth Bowles

Track list:
1. Wired
2. Cindy, It Was Always You
3. Freak Star
4. Killing Me
5. The Deep End
6. Turning of the Tide
7. Bruises
8. Your Secret
9. Wild Mercury
10. All the Squares Go Home
11. No Tomorrow

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