Friday, 21 September 2012

Record Review - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Published in the October issue of Rhythms.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Meat And Bone
Freeform Patterns

Finally, after eight long years, the blues is number one once more (baby), as the freaked out, fucked up sounds of Jon Spencer and the mighty Blues Explosion come right back atcha for another round, a wiggy mix of garage rock ‘n’ soul, bodily dragged through the blues wringer, no quarter asked, none given.

Over the course of 21 years and 12-ish records, JSBX have made it their off-kilter mission to re-inform the blues as they see it, the resulting fuzzed out glorious mess their trademark, and truth be told, their MO hasn’t changed with Meat And Bone – this could well be 1996 right here, circa I Got Worry, and there ain’t a single thing wrong with that.

The band’s last couple of records – 2004’s Damage and 2002’s Plastic Fang – have smoothed somewhat, whilst still retaining the madness so inherent, but this one takes it back to the complete reckless abandon they did so well through the ‘90s.  It’s instantly recognisable (from opener ‘Black Mold’) as who, and indeed, what, it is, and this is what makes it so good.  There’s no arty variation, there’s no trying to discover themselves amongst their music, it’s just music, ragged and raw, fucking music, courtesy of a band who do it better than anyone, ever.

In their own way, a pop line infuses a lot of the tracks, there are little catchy bits and pieces buried deep within the mud and slime, there’s out-of-control distortion as a matter of course, there’s harmonica blasting through like a steam train running express through the depths of blues hell – it’s utter frenetic madness and mayhem, set to as primal a beat as you can get, The Blues (baby).  This one is to be played loud, it’s to be played whilst you’re having sex, it’s to be played with a bottle of whiskey and a seven beer chaser.  It’s the Blues Explosion baby, yeah.

Samuel J. Fell

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