JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION
"Mean and Bone"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, October 5, 2012
The new album from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, “Meat and Bone,” quickly dispels any concern that the blues-rock trio might have lost momentum in the eight years since its last studio album. Much to the contrary, these dozen songs hoot, holler and howl with a classic JSBX energy, making it seem like it has been no time at all since the band’s 1990s heyday.
The album is full of gritty rock songs, from the sweltering fuzz of album opener “Black Mold” to the skittering drive of the fever-inducing “Danger.” Spencer delivers an echoing (if stream-of-consciousness) rant on “Bottle Baby” that is peppered with shrill wails, and the rowdy “Boot Cut” is poised to be a singalong (or, more likely, shout-along) anthem. The weakest track is the blues jam “Zimgar,” which maintains the album’s unwavering energy but suffers from monotonous repetition.
These songs certainly feel like the band’s classic approach, but the problem with a successful formula is that it can sometimes end up being a little too predictable. JSBX has been known for exuberant yelps of the band’s name. There’s only one such mention of “Blues Explosion” in the lyrics here (on “Get Your Pants Off”), and it feels a little phoned-in. For fans of classic JSBX, “Meat and Bone” is a solid return to form; it just could have used a few more fresh ideas to become a new classic.