I don’t know a lot of things about the band which used to be called the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and which is now called Blues Explosion. Don’t be afraid Prince or“love symbol aka “slave” aka “why are you bothering talking about the dwarf from Minneapolis anymore?” has got probably nothing to do with this little change of name. Anyway. I started to be acquainted with Blues Explosion with Now I Got Worry (just like most people I guess) and I tend to think that it is a kind of definitive record for this band. But Acme came and the Blues Explosion reinvented bluesy funk. And Orange must not be forgotten too. I also bought Plastic Fang but I think that it is a minor record for this great band.
What could be expected from a band which has got nothing to prove after such a long career, such great records and such good energy on stage? Well nothing more than being one of the best rock band in the world and continuing doing their music I guess. Well, actually, Blues Explosion continues to play songs as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has always done. But it seems to me that there is a kind of evolution on some songs on this record. A kind of feeling I don’t really know how to write about. Maybe it is due to the presence of Dan the Automator who has produced something like two songs. Or maybe because of Chuck D’s flow on "Hot Gossip." I guess that there is much more than “simple” or “plain” blues influence on this record.
"Damage," the first song, is quite strange because it starts as something quite classic, something you are used to if you know a little about Jon Spencer (Or the Blues Explosion as it has got to be called now. Have I already discussed that subject?) but then turns into a very powerful (have you ever noticed how much I like the adjective “powerful”?) kind of jungle beat. Then the second song is a blues/boogie/crunchy anthem just like the blues explosion knows how to do them. The old recipe is still efficient. "Mars, Arizona" really makes you feel like crossing these states listening to good old wak n’ wol, trying to drive as fast as you can with your car full of dust and the ashtray full of burned up cigarettes. And there is "Fed Up and Low Down," of course. This blend of slow and rapid powerful changes is very efficient and sticks to your head.
Yes, you are right. The Now I Got Worry days may be far away now (and they actually are). Blues Explosion does not sound like a rattling old rusty machine gun you would have been trying to fix with a steal saw. But personally, I still would like to drive a Ford Torino in the street of New York when I listen to them. They sound incredibly good and are really mastering their subject. And obviously, the blues is still number one.
-Horace de Tupolev
PS: last night I dreamt (not of San Pedro as Angus once wrote) but that I was sharing a flat with the Blues Explosion. And in my dream, Jon Spencer had shaved his head. What does it mean? Please help.
/oct 15th 2004/