“Imagine Ziggy Stardust on classic prog steroids.”
— Progressive Rock Files
They’ve been called an "anachronism as unpredictable as an ungoverned time machine."
They have "ridiculous" song titles like "Star Avenger vs. the Winged Hippopotamus."
They’ve been compared to Pink Floyd, Rush, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Roxy Music, the Clash, Mott the Hoople, Yes, Can, and Hawkwind – and that’s the short list.
They’re the group that seriously considered mixing real whale blubber into the pressing of their upcoming triple vinyl release.
Space rockers Plastic Overlords began in 2000 under circumstances as ridiculous as their song titles. Vocalist/bassist/keyboardist David Noel convinced an underground magazine to review the Overlords’ nonexistent debut album before the group’s first rehearsal! Noel, guitarist Eric Hand and drummer Brad Johnson had just three weeks to write and record their debut. The rushed sessions were tense, with Hand nearly assaulting Noel for adding synthesizer to a track to make it “less bluesy." When Noel presented the finished album to the group, Johnson rewarded him with a vintage turntable for meeting the magazine’s editorial deadline. Upon hearing the mix, Johnson promptly took the gift back.
Regardless, Plastic Overlords’ eponymous debut earned “Best of 2000” accolades from several underground progressive rock sites. One song, “A Moment of Silence for Unsynchronized Watches,” was declared a minor classic. Reviewers found it hard to believe the Overlords were Americans. “These guys have managed to create melodies – and recreate certain recording styles, dynamics, and tones – as beautiful as those found on the English albums of the time,” said Zoltan’s Progressive Rock Pages. “I can’t wait for the second album,” raved Dutch Progressive Rock Pages.
The wait would take a decade. Hand left over creative differences. His replacement, John Eades, brought a darker edge. The new line-up debuted at the 40 Watt in Athens, Georgia, but soon Noel departed as well - leaving the Overlords’ sophomore album unfinished and the master recordings believed lost. Plastic Overlords seemed little more than another faint blip on the underground radar.
But in 2010, Noel located the recordings and reunited with Eades and Johnson. The group enlisted – rather eccentrically – famous 70s Southern rock engineer Rodney Mills of Lynyrd Skynyrd fame to help them produce Sonic Astronomy. “Ziggy Stardust on classic prog rock steroids,” concluded Canadian critic and rock historian Jerry Lucky. “I can’t believe that nobody paid attention to them all those years ago.” Sea of Tranquility compared Sonic Astronomy to Rush’s classic 2112: “Heavy riffs, mellotron, and loads of atmosphere…if someone told you this was recorded in 1975, you would certainly believe it.”
With an anemic smattering of worldwide sales, radio play, and decent reviews, Sonic Astronomy had raised the gauge on the Overlords’ obscurity meter – if only slightly. But it was enough to inspire a massive concept, “Whale Blubber” – a tongue-in-cheek response to Brian Eno’s famous quote: “recorded music equals whale blubber.” “We didn’t take kindly to him trying to hammer the last rusty nail into the coffin of rock,” Noel said. “So I thought, ‘let’s be completely self-indulgent and do something as bloated as a rotting beached whale.’ That was our mindset making the new record!”
The Overlords envisioned an epic triple vinyl release with real whale blubber melted into each pressing. Coming to their senses, they soon abandoned “Whale Blubber” for a new concept – the “ultimate headphones album.” The result is the epic, 18-track “Surrender, Capricorn” demos which the Overlords hope to turn into an official release. The Overlords continue to work to release “Surrender, Capricorn.” It’s an album that’s meant to take you somewhere in your head. And the Overlords sincerely hope that doesn’t equal whale blubber.
- PROG magazine (UK)
"Startling...a fantastic anachronism as unpredictable as an ungoverned time machine."
- Prog Rock and Metal magazine
"Some of the most creative yet fun progressive music I have heard ever! A flawless album worthy of the highest grade. Sonic Astronomy deserves to be in your collection, and I shall cherish it for years to come."
- Dutch Progressive Rock Pages
"Every so often something unique comes along...Plastic Overlords' amalgamation of styles should intrigue adventurous listeners."
- Progression Magazine
"Heavy riffs...Mellotron...loads of atmosphere...psychedelic...like a meeting of early Rush and Hawkwind...highly recommended!"
- Sea of Tranquility
"Guaranteed to stimulate those neurons!"
- Aural Innovations