"This long-overdue vinyl reissue of Yoko Ono's seminal, but massively under-appreciated Plastic Ono Band has all the makings of a classic rock nostalgia trip: Ono, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman and free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman. All the pieces are here to stir up a dangerous amount of nostalgia. But once the needle drops, the record achieves something exactly perpendicular to nostalgia.
Released in 1970, the album not only influenced the approach of other musicians for decades, it also sounds absolutely modern 44 years out, eternally fresh despite the forward march of time. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band not only predicted the intersection of the avant-garde and rock that would take place in the second half of that decade, the album would sound right at home at where that intersection is happening today.
It's a record dense with ideas and sonics; the personal and the political. But for such a monolithic, touchstone record, it's also important to remember this music is supposed to be fun. It's intended to make you feel endless possibility, to question the very walls around you. And if your Western ears have some trouble with the vocal phrasing, it's okay to smile as you process. Smile the whole way through if you need to. It's a bit simplistic to deem Ono's mythic, pre-language vocal exercises as merely feral and free. The improvisations are a lesson in directness and control. Vocal chords don't just compete with searing electric guitars and summon free jazz horns. It is a concentrated feat, indebted to traditional Japanese singing and Ono's early operatic training."