ALBUM IN THE RED, CITY SLANG RELEASE: FEBRUARY 22, 2000 (APPROX) REVIEW: FEBRUARY 8, 2000
I could never imagine that Boss Hog, sleazy New York noise rockers to the maximum, would end up in Sweden working with Tore Johansson. He is mostly known for his dry and dull retro productions - for dry and dull retro bands like Eggstone and Mopeds. But Boss Hog were apparently impressed with Johansson’s work on the latest multiselling Cardigans album. And it turned out to be a rather good move after all.
Boss Hog is fronted by married couple Christina Martinez and Jon Spencer. The band’s latest eponymous album, released by Geffen in 1995, was a punch in the face; jagged bursts of howling rock’n’roll that sometimes was brilliantly catchy, but just as often pointlessly unstructured. It may be the aid of outside producers that has given their new album “Whiteout” a more structured shape. Or perhaps Boss Hog have just put a bit more time in the song writing.
No matter what, “Whiteout” is partly a fabulous rock record. The songs are classic song handcraft, but embedded in Spencer’s crackling guitar, that still sounds like it’s stringed with barbed wire, thunderous bass-lines, funky organ riffs and surprisingly danceable beats. It’s a combination that always gets my blood flowing: sugar-coated melodies drowned in feedback, hit choruses poisoned by noise.
And there are the little details, like the way Jon Spencer backs Christina Martinez’ vocals up with grunts and tortured howls. And how a Wu-Tang Clan sounding piano meets a Black Sabbath style guitar riff in “Jaguar”.
Boss Hog have lost none of their nasty cool. They’re still 100% New York. Among the producers and mixers are N Y underground profiles like ex-Swans drummer Roli Mosimann and Jim Thirlwell, the grand old demon of sleaze himself. You just have to look at the cover photography of Christina Martinez to realize that she’s a madonna who’s closed a pact with the devil. Listen, and it becomes even clearer.