Thursday 25 October 2012

The Jim Jones Revue - The Savage Heart

Album review by KevW

You'd think that the blueprint for The Jim Jones Revue was set in stone when the gospels of rock were first handed down from the gods over half a century ago. Their psychotic and frantic take on Little Richard's stomping piano-powered explosion was evident on early tracks 'Princess & The Frog', 'Fish 2 Fry' and a masterful cover of Richard's own 'Hey Hey Hey Hey'. For the most part they've stuck to this soul/blues/garage tornado, also plucking elements from other devotees such as The Cramps and The Stooges. New album 'The Savage Heart' isn't exactly a reinvention, but it does show a subtle deviation in sound while still focusing on the same vintage.

Those long-suffering piano keys take a hell of a pounding but on this new album there's more of a boogie-woogie slant on things, although it's still as dirty as Silvio Berlusconi on the set of a Carry On movie. By now Jim Jones must have had his all conquering larynx replaced with a cast iron pipe, no man's throat can be capable of such punishment. Single 'It's Gotta Be Me' lays out its intentions like Screamin' Jay Hawkins reincarnated and the ivory tinkling opening to 'Never Let You Go' soon transforms into Jerry Lee Lewis on a full moon. Once more these guys have grabbed the roots of rock music as we know it and taken a wire brush to the lot of it. '7 Times Around The Sun' could be an update of '16 Tons' (the Bo Diddley version, naturally).

That raw power (or maybe 'Raw Power'?) of early psychobilly thrash is still here in both 'Where Da Money Go' and the especially moody 'In And Out Of Harm's Way', and on 'Catastrophe' they revitalise rhythm and blues, putting hundreds of pub bands to shame. There are really little in the way of surprises to be found on 'The Savage Heart'; The Jim Jones Revue know what they like and they know how to do it better than just about anyone flirting with similar sounds from rock music's history. But just when you think you've got to grips with things, they throw in a bit of a curveball with album closer 'Midnight Ocean & The Savage Heart'. It's a similar modern day doo-wop scuzzball that King Khan and The Raveonettes have played with in the past and it makes for a welcome deviation as well as opening a new door for the band. Whether they venture further down that route we'll find out in the future, but for now this album will do a grand job of testing out just how robust your eardrums are.

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