The Dream Syndicate is a band of shakers and movers. They allow themselves to be shaken to the core by emotion and moved by principle. They shape noise and mold words into sublime, surreal poetry. The listener is shocked away, then set into motion.
Their debut LP, "Days of Wine and Roses," is bursting with the strangest, sweetest sounds -- clangorous folk rock, delirious psychedelia, artsy chaos -- all bound together by fierce, defiant intelligence. The music simultaneously explodes and implodes.
On the title cut, rhythm guitar comes clattering raucously over pumping bass and drums to tangle with slow, wicked, feedback-drenched lead work. "When You Smile" opens with a hot, white-light sonic disturbance that slowly resolves itself into one of the album's stronger tunes.
"Definitely Clean" and "Then She Remembers" are written as straightforward rockers, but the band's ecstatic delivery and the wit and perceptiveness of lead singer Steve Wynn's lyrics turn them into something special. The band can wax pretty, too: Bassist Kendra Smith takes over lead-vocal duties on "Too Little, Too Late," a lovely ballad redolent of the early Jefferson Airplane.
"Days of Wine and Roses" is one of the most powerful albums to come from an American underground band in months. If you've had your ears open, that's saying quite a lot. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM THE DREAM SYNDICATE -- Days of Wine and Roses (Ruby/Slash JRR 807). THE SHOW THE DREAM SYNDICATE, Thursday at 10 and midnight at the 9:30 Club.