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Wildman
FLAG RETIREMENT
(INDECENT MUSIC)

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More so than the first Gulf War, the attack on Iraq has prompted a new wave of protest singers. Most of them are doing it the traditional way: with acoustic guitars and neat-trimmed songs that spell out all their notions. Local songwriter and journalist David Wildmanís new outfit is stealthier, coating his allusive lyrics ó which match the cynicism of the new American regime lick for lick ó with raw, barbed, full-on electric psychedelic rock. " Moving Floor " details the Bush administrationís efforts to keep us distracted and off balance while it gobbles up our freedoms; " I believe itís worse now than in the í60s, " it declares, as guitars bray out big brash chords. Wildman is unsparing in the parallels he draws with Nazi Germany; that may be an extreme point of view, but letís suspend judgment for a few more years.

" God Damn Mistake, " with its visions of tanks crossing the desert sands, seems the catchiest tune, with the melodic chorus " Itís a God damn mistake/One weíre dying to make. " The song is buoyed by funky strumming and a hyperventilating guitar solo that underlines the immediacy of the situation. And when in " Try Not To Try " Wildman sings about " hoping the dream doesnít die as we beat out its life, " thereís a streak of pain beneath that acid-tongued observation that speaks for many who feel their patriotism being bled by our vampiric federal leadership. The CDís oddest turn may be the steel-guitar-powered " Placebo, " which matches its anti-war sentiments to shit-kicking country rock. And " Guts, " a call to protest, sounds a bit like a Mountain demo, with its fat, grinding guitars. Itís clear that Wildman, who has led the fine bands Fire in the Boathouse and Kaspar Hauser in recent years, is dedicated to keeping the spirit of protest music not just alive but lively.

(Wildman perform this Sunday, April 27, as part of the United for Justice with Peace Concert Series at the Middle East, beginning at 3 p.m.; call 617-864-EAST.)

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: April 25 - May 1, 2003
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