Like baseball's Nolan Ryan before him, Steve Wynn just keeps getting better with age.
HERE COME THE MIRACLES is Steve's BEST solo album and many say the best album of his entire career.
MAGNET Magazine named it one of the 20 Best of 2001 and says: "When the flash flood of scotch and gasoline finally subsides, a career-defining double album blossoms like a century plant in the desert sand." MIRACLES has also made the BEST OF 2001 lists of The Boston Herald, Sound & Vision Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Toronto Eye, and many, many more! Maybe it's time you checked out Steve Wynn's guitar-noir classic...
Here is a description of the album by famed Crime Fiction writer George Pelecanos:
HERE COME THE MIRACLES
Let me get this out of the way straight up: this is not going to be another one of those essays on The Dream Syndicate and The Next Big Thing That Didn't Happen.
It did happen.
It's all in the records, and what was laid down by Steve Wynn and his bandmates can't be taken away, ever.
Saying that the band never shipped platinum is as pointless as quoting weekend boxoffice grosses; talking about the limited output of the Syndicate is like discussing the tragedy of Orson Welles, who "only" made a handful of masterpieces.
When you're watching Chimes at Midnight or listening to The Medicine Show, do you think of anything but genius? Where's the tragedy in that? The point is, Steve Wynn has never stopped making great records, but the legacy and legend of his most famous band has often thrown a long shadow over his more recent work.
And that's wrong.
I own all the Velvet Underground albums, and I know they're classics `cause the critics told me so, but I reach for Coney Island Baby and Legendary Hearts when I want to hear some Lou.
With Wynn I put on Kerosene Man or Melting in the Dark.
You get the idea.
So I just got a promo of his new one, Here Come the Miracles, and it's like someone sent me a diamond or an unpublished Goodis through the U.S. mail.
After Wynn got all the tracks down in a ten-day session in Tucson, I suspect he realized that he had something bigger, and more startling, than he had intended.
The result is this two-disc set, often a self-indulgent ego-stroke, but not here.
Here Come the Miracles is Steve Wynn's Exile on Main Street, his Zen Arcade, and yeah, his Physical Graffiti.
Which is to say that this could be Wynn's most resonant recording, the one the heads'll still be listening to ten years from now.
Okay, what is it about this record? Since I don't know a chord change from a time signature, don't expect a technical answer.
What really stands out on Miracles is the songwriting and the band, which includes Wynn (guitar and vocals), Chris Brokaw (guitar), Linda Pitmon (drums), Dave DeCastro (bass), Chris Cacavas (keyboards), and guests.
Clearly, there's never been a Wynn-led lineup this tight, focused or as sympathetic to his vision.
As only the best music can do, these songs will take you out of your world and scare you a little bit, too.
Wynn has always done that for me, approximating the aural equivalent of noir literature in his records.
He does it here in spades, but this isn't the work of some nouveau nihilist trying on Jim Thompson's clothes.
The title of the record says it all.
On Wynn's shadowed streets there is always the promise of hope.
There isn't a throwaway track in the set.
"Shades of Blue" and "Sustain" are pure pop with guitar, my vote for this summer's singles.
"Blackout" and "Butterscotch" are signature Wynn mood-tunes, quiet, frightening, and beautiful.
Ditto for the haunting and crystalline "Drought." "Watch Your Step" is all driving riff and cheesy organ, like BTO played by The Shadows of Knight.
"Smash Myself to Bits" is a proto-garage freak out, with Linda's martial drumming galloping over the mix and pushing the band to a sustained, honk-party frenzy; the opening 2 minutes and change is the hottest slice of noise, period, you'll hear this year, and that's before Wynn even comes in with the first verse.
On the set's centerpiece, "Good and Bad," Wynn busts his "Cortez the Killer" move and shreds the sonic landscape with a 12-string solo that will have to be a hallmark of his live show for years to come.
Most tellingly, the record closes with "There Will Come a Day," which sounds like Dylan covered by Green on Red (no surprise, with Cacavas on board), and might be the one of the finest tracks Steve has ever recorded.
The song showcases Wynn's spiritual side, his secret weapon in the face of those who always mention his "darkness" and miss the point: that without some kind of illumination in the night, there is nothing to be seen at all.
I'm tempted to call this maturity, but don't let that scare you away.
Wynn's group rocks harder and with more raw energy than all the naval-gazer bands combined.
It's called deep fun, and it makes Here Come the Miracles a rich ride.
George P. Pelecanos is one of the finest crime fiction writers working today. He has been hailed as 'the coolest writer in America' (GQ) and 'a literary Tarantino with added heart' (Mail On Sunday) who makes Jim Thompson look like Barbara Cartland' (Mirabella). His books include King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever and Nick's Trip.