Oh Blues Explosion, where have you been? Who’s been playing that dripping-wet, gut-punching, sleaze-blues noise that you so reliably delivered? After the comparatively cleaner albums Plastic Fang and Damage, and a long hiatus, I thought JSBX were happily semi-retired. But lo! Not only are they back with a new record, but it’s also their dirtiest bit of business since 1998’s Acme. With a jagged riff that tears hunks out of your scalp, opener “Black Mold” is as ruinous to health as its namesake, and “Bag of Bones” rewrites the old playbook with harmonica and Spencer’s soul-survivor yelps. At one point, he asks, “Do you remember the 1990s? Do you remember the 1980s? Do you remember the 1970s?” JSBX do, that’s for sure. There’s a lifetime of blood, sweat, and grease in here, and while they started out as smart kids punking up old bluesmen’s acts, now they’re the real damn thing.
Be sure to catch the Blues Explosion on their upcoming tour--and if you're in New York, you can see them at the Bell House in Brooklyn on January 13th, the day before the tour kicks off! They'll be playing as part of WFMU's benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief.
By Tom Forget