Red Plastic Buddha
How could you not become immediately intrigued with a name like Red Plastic Buddha? The cover is like psychedelic 60s period poster artwork and the music falls right in line. When you look at the fact there are only six tracks, your first thought is it must be an EP, wrong! We are reaching back to another time when a full album of songs was right around 30 minutes in length or just under. Sunflower Sessions is 3:38 over that previously taboo industry threshold.
The Red Plastic Buddha is Timothy Ferguson (vocals, bass), Todd Lazar (lead guitar), Todd Leiter Weintraub (rhythm guitar), David Kling (drums), Matt Walters (keyboards) and special guests include Pamela Richardson (backing vocals) who recently became a permanent member of the band, and Ric Salazar (lead guitar on "Kerosene").
Ferguson calls their music gas soaked garage with heavy influences from the late great Syd Barrett. I tend to agree with that statement, and I heard a lot of great music on this recording. I am the kind of listener that bought the Nuggets box sets that covered this kind of music in depth. I love garage rock injected with psychedelic feedback. It is so pure and unencumbered by technology and the lyrics do not have to make any sense, it all sounds like a one big acid trip. This approach was intentional and it always gave bands a good excuse as to why the lyrics never made much sense. After all that is what that time was about, experimenting with everything to see what happened. Where would music be today if people like the Beatles and The Beach Boys did not have the brilliant minds and courage to reach beyond their own surroundings and capabilities? Certainly, there would be no Red Plastic Buddha.
Ferguson is a good lead singer and bass player. He will immediately sound familiar to you but you may not be able to put your finger on who he sounds like, I sure couldn't and still cannot for some reason, all I know is that the familiarity brought about while listening to him sing is a comfort zone for me. As I listened this music grew on me in a positive way. This process helps me discover some of the greatest new music out there in the world of indies.
A culture and this music style are bubbling under the surface of everything that is going on in the industry right now. This music never went away; it just was taking a little nap. I think bands like this will help launch its reemergence and you will see teenagers all over the world picking up guitars and putting together bands like this, just like when this music first became popular. Things are quite different now and so is today's youth…the one thing that never changes is the music. Red Plastic Buddha reinforces that with every song on the Sunflower Sessions.
"Forget Me Not" is a great opening tune and it would be a perfect single, actually every track I could envision getting spins on a radio, either traditional or internet radio. The only song that did not make any sense to me was "Gingerbread Pornography" but then again the singer says he is not making any sense anyway so that makes it ok. The formula for recreating this type of music was almost true to the time it was born. I actually could understand the message in five out of six songs, which is unusual. All the fun of this music is trying to figure out what they are singing about but most of the time the people making the music do not have a clue either, they are just playing and having fun so who cares? That is the whole point of going to the studio and laying down tracks and coming out with some great music. There is no need to come up with heavy politically charged statements and particularly meaningful words, just good rock and roll, some spacey esoteric messages, and a result that everyone involved is happy with, including all the listeners, which is what the band wants and the entire purpose behind what they do in the first place.