Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
From the Ames/Des Moines/Iowa state capital corridor, there's been a rattling for what seems to be decades, a great disturbance that became a lesser disturbance, that became a puzzlement, that was fleshed out, that was refined, that was commandeered by four principal songwriters all of distinguishably different persuasions, that was made into an operable quartet that has come to this day embracing all of its idiosyncrasies in a more controlled environment. The Poison Control Center, if it's appropriate in its syntax to claim the multi-headed project as a single being, was a madman in its earlier days of playing in green jump suits a la the yellow ones Dignan wore in "Bottle Rocket."
It was an unhinged variation on the simple pop structure that spawned all of the Beatles crazies who made all of the fuzzed out, drugged up psychedelic indie rock for The Elephant Six Collective and Kindercore Records. They were and still are a group that bows to hermetic Jeff Mangum, hyper-kinetic Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo (lead singer Patrick Fleming would probably list being an invited guest to the Apples front man's wedding as a life highlight), Elf Power, Masters of the Hemisphere and all of the other various off-shoots and denominations of these incestuous bands. They've helmed in their more reckless leanings and stand before us with the tassel flipped over to the left side of their caps, signifying a graduation of sorts into the kind of rock and roll world that they always knew was out there waiting for them if they could just get there - surviving personal losses and creative differences and growing up (the biggest detriment to a band that lives and dines on doing things the hard and ambitious way).
The PCC now - with its forthcoming new record A Collage of Impressions -- is going after legitimacy. It already has legacy and relative longevity, as well as experience playing ice cream parlors and Patrick Fleming and Devin Frank staging live battles with their bodies and guitars, like two feral bighorns clacking their bones together for the appealing hand of the lady bighorn. The record makes the most of their multi-dimensions and individual voices and egos. All four voices get their crack and the barnburning, waylaying is an attractive version of the closest this band will get to giving us a straight answer. It's still pop, via the weirder, non-cerebral form of the word, but it's an expansion of on the many years of trying and a testament to what plugging away at a sound burning a hole in your head can lead to. Poison Control Center sings that love is the answer, but the reason they're even able to repeat what was just said is by way of supreme companionship - which gets a lot of face time on the new album. It's a full developed friendship of mostly brothers that has taken their love of weird but simple music courting.
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