Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: "Meat and Bone" (album review)

Bands like The Black Keys may have popularized the combination of blues and garage rock in recent years, but someone else has been doing it for a quarter century...and they're back.  This week The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion released a brand new studio album Meat and Bone.

After taking some time off, the trio came together for the new album.  And it did a world of wonder.  The band sounds revitalized and are brimming with energy.

There's more of a rock edge this time around.  "Ice Cream Killer" is a Hives-style garage rocker.  The loose and fuzzy "Boot Cut" is a '70s punk scorcher, while "Danger" sounds like it was lifted right off Raw Power.  We even get some classic rock with the big brash guitar riffs of "Black Thoughts".

The traditional bluesy sounds are still to be found.  A harmonica features prominently on the down and dirty blues of "Bag of Bones".  "Unclear" is a down tempo number, full of self-pity.  The R.L. Burnside influence is apparent on the spoken word, elderly bluesman verses of "Strange Baby".

The album standout is neither garage rock nor blues.  Instead it's the funky, sleazy, and downright catchy "Get Your Pants Off".

It's been a while since we've heard from The JSBX, and I have to admit I hadn't thought of them much in their absence.  However, Meat and Bone is just the record to show me how much I've actually missed them.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion play the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on October 18th.

Best tracks: "Get Your Pants Off", "Bag Of Bones"

Track listing for Meat and Bone:
  • Black Mold
  • Bag Of Bones
  • Boot Cut
  • Get Your Pants Off
  • Ice Cream Killer
  • Strange Baby
  • Bottle Baby
  • Danger
  • Black Thoughts
  • Unclear
  • Bear Trap
  • Zimgar

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