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Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra (WACO)






Interplanetary Materials











Los Angeles, CA USA


The Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra - W.A.C.O. for short - are not pop musicians. They are not accessible, they are not marketable and they have none of the earmarks of a typical Los Angeles ensemble. They aren't seeking representation or major label affiliation. They aren't washing-the-dishes background music, make-out music or cruising-down-the-freeway music. They are a challenge to absorb and they demand attention from listeners in a time when anything above somnambulant ambience is regarded as a threat to national security.

With jarring string swoops and dissonant trills over a quasi-jazz rhythm section and the voice of Steven Gregoropoulos crooning and declaiming atop it all, W.A.C.O. can either be a thrilling roller-coaster ride or a hideous train wreck, depending on the quality of their individual tracks - there is no in-between here.

The misses, oddly enough, occur when Gregoropoulos oversteps himself, aiming for the kind of complex and unnecessary tempo shifts that have been the curse of "progressive" music since musicians realized that counting out 13/4 or 19/8 was a clever idea. But the band have improved enough to at least negotiate the hard time signatures; kudos to propelling force Pablo Garcia, the bassist, for this step ahead. That said, it's more proof than is needed to make the case that this disc isn't standand fare. Offbeat beat often feel affected in rock bands like Rush, and the same law applies here. An outside arranger or producer would be a welcome addition.

They ain't *NSync or Mandy Moore or Destiny's Child, they ain't Limp Bizkit or Dave Matthews, and they ain't even Magnetic Fields or the Ass Ponys. W.A.C.O. stand alone. Whether or not you commit to swimming in the music as it plays is your choice, but the Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra cannot - or will not - be ignored. We're better off for it, completely. - (Excerpts from a review by) Johnny Angel, New Times, Los Angeles, 7/12/01