Music
11:01 am
Tue April 30, 2002

Bad Moon Rising…

Beware the full moon, Hives and White Stripes -- long live the Bloooooozze Exxploshhhun!

Since Jon Spencer surfaced last with the genre busting, hip-hop infused Acme, the blooze is suddenly in vogue having been dusted off and painted with White Stripes. Now is the the perfect time for the master to reclaim his throne from the young upstarts who have stolen his thunder.

"Sweet ‘n’ Sour" provides a menacing opener – a warning of the R&B horror to come. "Shakin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Tonight" and "Money Rock ‘n’ Roll" are classic examples of the Blues Explosion’s rock attack. The dirt-blues shuffle "Down In The Beast" exemplifies Jon’s allegorical storytelling style, finding him literally in the belly of the beast, the swinging rocker recast as an intoxicated Jonah at the bottom of the cold, black sea. Other tracks, such as the swamp-funk single "She Said," smolder with a fiery blues/gospel intensity born of personal experience.

Casting the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion alongside grizzled veterans who understand the band’s fascination with rock ‘n’ roll’s primal blues roots was a smart move. Guided by the apocalyptic knob-twiddling of B.B. King/Keith Richards sessions pal Steve Jordan, Plastic Fang is the JSBX's most focused, fierce and visceral work to date. Special guests Dr. John and Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell contribute to the Big Easy-styled "Hold On" and the funky "Over & Over" respectively, but this is definitely the Blues Explosion’s eclectic floorshow.

Blooze revisionist Spencer has honed his Howlin' Wolf obsessions to such a point that on Plastic Fang he adopts the guise of an actual howling wolf - articulately projecting his guilty/cursed/lonely/ugly alienation through lupine metaphor and guttural yowling. Wearing its influences on its big Orange sleeves, the Blues Explosion properly explores its blues affinities and emerges from the bayou as werewolves with unprecedented bite.

Beware the full moon, Hives and White Stripes -- long live the Bloooooozze Exxploshhhun!