After fighting the good fight for 15 years, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion packed it in back in 2005. Since then, their high-octane mix of garage rock, blues, funk and punk has been adopted and adapted by the likes of The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and Jack White. Now Judah Baur, Russell Simins and Jon Spencer are back, louder, funkier and more distorted than ever.
Anyone who caught The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Kings Arms in January of 2011 knows that these three musicians can still raise hell on stage. Meat & Bone is their first new studio album since 2004 and the trio sounds invigorated and re-inspired after celebrating the reissue of their earlier albums on their 2010-11 tour.
Black Mold kicks things off with big, nasty distorted guitar chords and frantic drumming. Spencer’s voice is buried in the mix, but that doesn’t keep him from getting his message across, which is, “we’re back and we’re ready to rock!” To further his point, he calls on Little Richard and Little Walter to give the listener an idea where the Blues Explosion are coming from.
With its Stonesy guitar swagger and harmonica, Bag Of Bones sounds like Honky Tonk Women’s ugly sister. The track is loose and funky as Spencer points out, “don’t got to wait for Halloween to scream and wail”.
Book Cut features more dirty guitar riffs and an exhilarating rave-up about three minutes into the track.
Get Your Pants Off is even funkier. Imagine James Brown fronting The MC5 with Booker T and Steve Cropper sitting in, and you have an idea of what to expect.
Later, on Bottle Baby, Spencer seems to be accepting some kind of award. He and the band certainly deserve one.
Danger sounds like classic Stooges and Unclear is solid garage rock with Spencer throwing in some of his best Otis Redding-inspired yowls.
No doubt about it, Meat & Bone rocks from beginning to end. Good to have them back.
Click here to listen to Bag Of Bones from Meat & Bone: