First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2004, Volume 11, #11
Written by John Metzger
Over the course of its career, Blues Explosion hasn’t strayed from its core sound. In essence, its modus operandi always has been to amalgamate everything even remotely connected to the blues and deliver it with as much uproarious vigor as is humanly possible. On its seventh outing Damage, the group doesn’t do anything all that different either, and the end result, while perfected, is largely the same — a brutally boisterous assault that is loud enough to split the heavens. Beyond the volume, however, there are shades of rap, punk, and classic rock as well as Memphis-bred soul and the type of blues born in the Mississippi Delta. Hearing how the ensemble pieces it all together is what makes its music so enticing. Burn It Off rumbles with a Stones-meets-Stooges thunder while Crunchy evokes the gritty, gnarled grooves of Lou Reed. Elsewhere, Spoiled is an ethereal freak-out, the corners of which are painted by the feathery vocals of Martina Topley Bird; Hot Gossip incorporates master rapper Chuck D into a funky, fiery whirlwind of socio-political musings on the state of America; and despite the distorted vocals, clattering guitars, and muscular drums, the manner in which Jon Spencer sings You Been My Baby recalls Otis Redding fronting Big Brother and the Holding Company. At first glance, the sonic howl emitted by Blues Explosion appears chaotic, but its approach is entirely deliberate. By keeping at least some semblance of a melody in sight, the group successfully has re-crafted a version of garage rock that is more accessible than its previous outings, yet contains more bite than The Strokes, The White Stripes, or any of the myriad of other garage-rock revivalists combined. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box