Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Damage

There is evidence that Damage is their most abstract lp to date, quirky and surreal in part.



Gawd, the bloody limited edition cover was a pain in the arse in opening. Firstly there was the small matter of the damned staples to laboriously disengage from the cover package; (the contents of which, once the staples had been successfully removed, promptly fell apart and scattered like the innards of a Sunday paper onto the carpet). Secondly I had to round up the detritis, (consisting of arty dvd, wrap-around cover and a booklet displaying lots of moody band pics) and reassemble into some cogent form; yep, the marketing department really were at a loose end on this one.


Hell, what about it? Its a new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion record, which is always a good thing. Compared to Acme, or Plastic Fang, this time around there's a more expansive feel to the recording; a result, no doubt, of the extensive collaboration with luminaries such as David Holmes, Chuck D and DJ Shadow.


Still in tracks such as Burn it Off and Crunchy the Blues Explosion are in classic rip-roaring form, albeit less angular and brittle. Elsewhere there is evidence that Damage is their most abstract lp to date, quirky and surreal in part. There is also a softer, smoother approach in places, the irony that infused other Blues Explosions records has given way to a more open, honest re-appraisal. Spoiled for example, is a morose and dustblown blues incantation, a fantastic, rather fried lament to lost youth. Its in a more widescreen landscape than other Blues Explosion stuff I can think of. Hot Gossip is a classic anti-war, anti-government track, almost heading into Isaac Hayes territory, especially when Chuck D guests on the vocals. Fed up and Low Down, the contribution with DJ Shadow, sounds for all the world like a half-cut dyslexic Elvis, singing in a pub band doing Sabs covers. Rattling starts off like something off a Cluster album, or the soundtrack to a Godzilla movie, or an advert about a peanut packaging plant, and I never thought I would say that about a Jon Spenser record. Help These Blues is the stand out track, all spitting guitar and preacher style vocals.


The DVD was for once, quite enjoyable, in that it showed the process in which a band creates its music in the studio, (consisting of lots of sitting around, and re-recording). The torpor and lethargy involved in this process was oddly relaxing and totally at odds with the exciting end results.


So; my thoughts at the conclusion? Best record they've made. I suggest you buy it.