Review Summary: Back to the grind
As their name implies, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (JSBE) are old-fashioned, organic and highly combustible. Meat + Bone
is yet another full platter of goodness from the rock and roll butcher’s window. From the first second of opener “Black Mold”, sounding like an even more hyperactive re-tread of The Fall’s cover of “Victoria”, there is no concession to pacing, no kowtowing to subtlety and certainly no right of way for a slow dance. The foundations of rock and roll may have been unearthed and desecrated myriad times since the middle of last century, but JSBE find the middle ground between filthy pastiche and heart-on-sleeve tribute to the genre’s history. The group’s eponymous front man looks and sounds like the result of a music heritage science experiment gone wrong; mutton-chop sideburns, tight leather jacket and filthy denim, the chemically enhanced drawl of fat-guy-in-a-jumpsuit-period Elvis and the frenetic amphetamine rush energy of Jerry Lee Lewis.
Although mindful of their forebears, JSBE waste no time in marking the territory with their own scent. The overtly sexual “Get Your Pants Off” (clue’s in the title, people) is justifiably upright and fleshy, “Strange Baby” has Spencer stuttering and tripping over his words like he’s spent a week face down in his own early grave and “Black Thoughts” offers a typically caustic word on the mental and physical decline of those who burn the candle at both ends. Meat + Bone
passes by in 39 blitzkrieg minutes. They might not be fracking new rocks with their sound, but for those in the know with ears to blow, it’s manna from an alternate heaven.
“Do you remember the 1990s? Do you remember the 1980s? Do you rememberrrrr the 1970s?” begs Spencer during “Bag Of Bones”. Some of us may not, but the timeless sound offered by the group entails they have may have been with us all this time, tarted up in different guises. For the naysayers, Spencer has a word or two he wants to impart into your shell-like. Reverting to type, JSBE take an old passage and add their own take; never mind “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, “Bottle Baby” offers its own concise and pertinent advice: “Get the f*ck off the stage!”