Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band

Music, Dance and electronic
Yoko Ono
Photograph courtesy Press Here Publicity Yoko Ono

Groove is central to the best moments on Take Me to the Land of Hell, the star-studded new album from Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band. The fierce funk-rock beat of “Cheshire Cat Cry”—over which Ono states, “We, the expendable people of the United States, hold these dreams to be self-destructive”—is primarily fleshed out by rubbery bass from Ono’s son, Sean Lennon, and solid drumming from Lenny Kravitz. The screwy but infectious “Bad Dancer,” built on catchy synth bass and a spaghetti-Western guitar lick, was mixed by Ad-Rock and Mike D of the Beastie Boys. And the propulsive “7th Floor,” which includes Questlove on drums and Wilco’s Nels Cline on guitar, brings to mind Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” 

There are highlights off the dance floor, too. The old-timey “Leaving Tim,” for instance, finds the up-and-coming jazz guitarist Julian Lage offering a warm, singing Gypsy-jazz solo. At the Bowery Ballroom, Ono, who turned 80 earlier this year, will be backed by a band including Lennon and Cline. Despite the new album’s name, the gig should tend toward the heavenly.—Brad Farberman

Follow Brad Farberman on Twitter: @BradFarberman

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