Album Review

Steve Wynn - Here Come The Miracles

Steve Wynn - Here Come The Miracles

Though the terminally brash Steve Wynn has never lacked ambition, he returns with his boldest artistic testament to date. All but forgotten a decade ago when the Dream Syndicate imploded and his solo career failed to spark, Wynn fires back with both barrels blazing on this two-disc set of thematically linked material. If double albums are suspect, concept albums are even more so; yet Wynn's nineteen-song cycle of a Southern California suspended between the millennium and the apocalypse infuses his literary aspirations with rock 'n' roll smarts, as if he's fronting Raymond Chandler's supercharged garage band. In the early 1980s, Wynn's Dream Syndicate seemed to be on a parallel course with R.E.M., drawing as heavily from the Velvet Underground as the latter did the Byrds, raising the banner for the resurgence of a guitar army. Yet where R.E.M. continued to evolve and extend themselves, Wynn and band devolved into derivative self-indulgence. With Here Come The Miracles, the scope, scale and sprawl of a double album -- even the excesses -- are part of the point. The cinematic expanse not only encompasses the acid flashback of the title track, the Doors-meet-the-Manson-Family nightmare of "Topanga Canyon Freaks" (with Howe Gelb as co-conspirator), and the melodic uplift of "There Will Come A Day" (think "I Shall Be Released" with an edge of sardonic vindictiveness), it makes them sound like parts of a conceptual whole that is more than the sum of its songs. Making crucial contributions to the album's cohesiveness, keyboardist Chris Cacavas rides shotgun, while drummer Linda Pitmon (who co-wrote three tracks) splits the difference between Mo Tucker and Charlie Watts. "The more I see, the less I think I want to see, which only makes me dare to see more than I really should," Wynn sings over the deceptive lilt of "Sustain". Unblinking and unflinching, such vision pervades the album.