JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION
RERELEASE ALBUM MUTE, PLAYGROUND RELEASE:
MARCH 13, 2000 REVIEW: APRIL 17, 2000
The hate-fuelled metal bashing and guitar tearing of 80's noise rockers Pussy
Galore didn't only result in a couple of fairly amazing (and even more, almost
unlistenable...) pieces of nihilistic scrap yard mock'n'roll - including a seminal
cover of Einstürzende Neubauten's "Yü-Gung" - when splitting up the band also
spawned some of the last decade's best rock bands.
Guitarist Neil Hagerty went on to form the duo Royal Trux, one of the last truly
groundbreaking rock acts, while singer Jon Spencer first formed the violent Boss
Hog with his wife Cristina Martinez and a few years later found his true place:
as spellbinding front figure of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
The bassless trio of the Blues Explosion proved capable of making some of the
noisiest, most hip swivelling and sexy rock'n'roll of the 90's. And now the time
has come for Mute to reissue extended versions of some of their records. The 1993
album "Extra Width" comes coupled with its Australian companion "Mo' Width" on
one CD. "Orange" from 1994 has three videos featured. And the "Experimental Remixes"
EP is extended to a full length album, with the help of three bonus tracks.
"Orange" is the real gem. Together with its follow up "Now I Got Worry", it still
stands as The Blues Explosion's finest moment to date. There, Jon Spencer finally
seems to be secure in his vocalist role, while the band musically has found the
perfect balance between freeform noise, sweat-dripping rhythms and rock mythology.
The band blows the history of rock to pieces and only picks up the most primal,
fucked up parts. And it's this healthy irreverence for their heritage, that makes
me so fond of them.
There's always a sarcastic glimpse in Jon Spencer's eyes when he delivers the
savage, horny howls that's become his trademark. And just like the mentioned Einstürzende
Neubauten, they've never seemed to care much for conventional song structures.
That's why it feels completely natural that a string section suddenly cuts through
the guitars or that a howling saxophone fights to be heard.
"Orange" is essential for anyone with the slightest interest in music that struggles
to look forward.