Review Summary: Punk rock discovering truth in the blues of the likes of Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson
The mighty howl of Jeffrey Lee Pierce still scorches and sounds every bit contemporary in the late 00's.The Gun Club's classic 81 album was manna for the likes o
Jeffrey Lee Pierce,vocals,slide guitar
Ward Dotson guitar,slide guitar
Fire of love is the sound of punk rock rediscovering its roots,its a solid slice of rock and
roll the way its meant to be played .Jeffrey Lee Pierce the Blondie fan club man way way back sounds like the blues are coating his epidermis like napalm for the forty odd minutes of this record. Like X from the same era Gun Club were a mighty burst of electricity in the era of Journey and REO Speedwagon .
SEX BEAT is Almost Ramones like in its manner until the atonal Tom Verlaine-ish whine of Pierce cuts in ,the lyrics are like the hot clammy swamps that the songs seem to be set in."they're stupid like i told ya,they're stupid like a saw,they're stupid like the simple thought of ever thinkin at all".
PREACHING THE BLUES Robert Johnson number which the band make all their own.At this stage you can see the formula that the band are using minimal but effective stuff like the slide guitars that coat the songs like teflon jackets.There is a definate similarity in sound between this album and the Fall's "Dragnet"tour de force lyrics that are full of images that hook you into the stories and characters lots of E chord mantra tunes.
PROMISE ME Reminds me of "Mr Rain "by the Velvets cos of the one chord violin,there's a great sound like someone shaking their car keys every few beats .Slow moody a bit like Elvis spending purgatory in "heartbreak Hotel "or Jack Nicholson wandering round the ballroom in" The Shining".
SHE'S LIKE HEROIN TO ME"She's like heroin to me,She cannot miss a vein"This hellfire number must have started a thousand "cowpunk"bands so popular in the mid eighties and it resonates even more when you know that Pierce had been spending his own time with this one particular dragon.
FOR THE LOVE OF IVY "I'm gonna find me a graveyard of my own ,and kill everyone thats ever done me wrong" was definately borrowed from an ancient blues number.This song is like being tied up on a chair and Pierce walking round with a knife moving back and forth towards you cutting bits off your ear when you least expect it.There's a bit of very un PC-like lyric in the song which may make you wince ,yet i feel that Pierce is only speaking in the voice of a deep south racist mindset character that you would find in a William Faulkner novel.
FIRE SPIRIT The cover off this album makes you think of restless spirits and voodoo dolls and this song is like a passage in Stephen King's "Pet Cemetary" going up the mountain to do unholy deeds after dark .Black Francis was definately taking notes.
GHOST ON THE HIGHWAY.Definately a hint of "Mystery Train"the Elvis version but this
locomotive is definately unhinged, Alan Vega's "Jukebox Baby"released the same time also shares that reverby rockabilly spirit.
JACK ON FIRE The centrepiece of the album this is a psychodrama that takes place in the mardi gras in New Orleans,very cinematic,a murder story about a southern psychopath maybe like Max in Cape Fear.Very Fall -like bass line but that crazy slide guitar keeps things in check.Great build up very early Doors-ish feel in Pierce's voice .
BLACK TRAIN Great drums in this one ,great bluesy howling by Pierce ,the ghost of another Sun Studios rocker echos up from hades.
COOL DRINK OF WATER Another cover Tommy Johnson this time goes on maybe a bit too long ,nice slide guitar though
GOODBYE JOHNNY Very Alan Vega the way Pierce sings the word "Johnny "more images of doomed rockers the lyrics make me think of Jimmy Dean in "Rebel",this is more of a bookend and not as good as the earlier numbers but its still a great sound and Pierce's voice and the slide guitar keeps the momentum steady.