Album: Blues Explosion

Damage, MUTE
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The Independent Culture

The Blues Explosion talk a good fight, at least. "No matter which way you fold or bend/ You're never gonna top us, you're never gonna beat us/ Can you dig my band?" hollers Jon Spencer at the start of Damage, an album that seeks to regain some of the raw power lacking on the bloodless Plastic Fang. And certainly, the title-track is cause for celebration, a 10-league bootstomp that explodes into jagged Atari Teenage Riot-style digital shards 40 seconds from the end; the new single, "Burn It Off", is similarly brash and bare-nerved rock'n'roll, while "Mars, Arizona" is the sonic equivalent of molten lead. Damage also features intriguing collaborations, with David Holmes exulting in the splashier, more miasmic possibilities of the Blues Explosion sound on "Spoiled" and "You Been My Baby", and Dan the Automator focusing on the trio's core business of hardcore Stones raunch on "Crunchy", underscoring Spencer and Judah Bauer's guitars with burring organ and honky-tonk piano. Elsewhere,

The Blues Explosion talk a good fight, at least. "No matter which way you fold or bend/ You're never gonna top us, you're never gonna beat us/ Can you dig my band?" hollers Jon Spencer at the start of Damage, an album that seeks to regain some of the raw power lacking on the bloodless Plastic Fang. And certainly, the title-track is cause for celebration, a 10-league bootstomp that explodes into jagged Atari Teenage Riot-style digital shards 40 seconds from the end; the new single, "Burn It Off", is similarly brash and bare-nerved rock'n'roll, while "Mars, Arizona" is the sonic equivalent of molten lead. Damage also features intriguing collaborations, with David Holmes exulting in the splashier, more miasmic possibilities of the Blues Explosion sound on "Spoiled" and "You Been My Baby", and Dan the Automator focusing on the trio's core business of hardcore Stones raunch on "Crunchy", underscoring Spencer and Judah Bauer's guitars with burring organ and honky-tonk piano. Elsewhere, DJ Shadow helms "Fed Up and Low Down", a punk-funk barrage featuring barely audible sax from The Contortions' James Chance - a more successful collaboration than their hook-up with Chuck D on the anti-war "Hot Gossip", which is just stodgily declamatory. But overall, Damage is a return to something like form.

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