The Jim Jones Revue ‘The Savage Heart’ – album review
The Jim Jones Revue ‘The Savage Heart’ (Punk Rock Blues Records/PIAS)
Released 15th October 2012
Notorious for their maniacal high-energy shows, The Jim Jones Revue have been described by MOJO as âthe greatest rock nâ roll band in the world right nowââ¦
Damn right!. Take the teeth-chattering piano and a-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bam-boom of Little Richard, the waaaaaaaah!!! and stomp of the Sonics, the sartorial elegance and dynamics of the Clash (playing Brand New Cadillac or I Fought The Law) and you get the essence of the kind of rockânâroll that the Jim Jones Revue specialise in.
There press release is so articulate & accurate (and quite possibly under-stated) that itâs almost not necessary to review the Revue at allâ¦â¦
âTheir most exhilarating work to date, The Savage Heart expands the sonic remit of The Jim Jones Revue beyond their renowned brand of manic rock ânâ roll to explore a virtual âheart of darknessâ of new musical territory in the form of tribal stomps, field hollers, a capella rave-ups — even a fuzzed-out feedback-laden doo-wop ballad!
This is their third album since they formed in 2007 and its produced by Jim Sclavunos (Grinderman / Bad Seeds) who also did Burning Your House Down in 2010.
The Savage Heart swaggers with all the balls-out rocking of its predecessors, but offers too an expansive vision of the band, with a wider palette of soundsâ¦
âWhile the group look back into the roots of rock nâ roll, weâve never gone backwards in what we do,â says Jim Jones. âItâs always about pushing things forward for us.â
Contributing mightily to the vigorous sound captured on The Savage Heart is new member Henri Herbert on keyboards. Henri, who joined just last year, has diversified the bandâs keyboard vocabulary, drawing not just on the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard but Otis Spann, Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons as well.
âHeâs the Professor of Piano,â affirms Rupert. âHis wealth of knowledge is astounding. Heâs really re-shaped our approach.â
It really is a tremendous album and a contender for best of the year. Itâs a definite âprogressionâ from Burning the House Down, the only criticism you couldâve leveled at which, was that it was âa bit sameyâ. The Savage Heart has variety as well as savagery andâ¦ heart.
So hereâs my traditional track-by-track run down;
Itâs Gotta Be About Me opens in stupendous form, sounding like Blank Generation being performed by a bizarre supergroup made up of members of the Dolls, Slade, a manic Tom Waits and Little Richard. The lyrical clichesâ tumble out, on a song about self-obssession and ego, including sexual references from A Clockwork Orange, and 50âs & 60âs heptalk.
Never let You Go starts like the Doors Touch Me, with Fast Eddie guitars and boogie-woogie pianner fighting it out â before a bit of Bad Seeds style call and response
7 Times Around The Sun is another epic, with the aforementioned field hollers showing how JJ is now a mighty vocalist. The piano gets slightly too Jools Holland on this track but Jones vocal is showstopping and outdoes even Jon Spencer
Where Da Money Go? Presumably this is the âsocially conscious lyricâ mentioned in the PR although itâs hard to notice amongst the gruntâs nâ hollers, teeth-chattering piano and guitar. âYou were always a dick, but now youâve crossed the lineâ is my favourite line.
Chain Gang is a bit slower and more bluesy, but a wonderful moody piece conjuring up images from a Cool Hand Luke style movie.
In and Out of Harmâs Way – again a Bad Seeds-type influence which changes into an Iggy & the Doors epic with Aladdin Sane style piano flourishes and runs. Its widescreen and beautifully produced creating Spagghetti Western atmospherics reminiscent of what Theatre of Hate attempted on Westworld. Thereâs a guitar pattern that apes the sound of a steam train superbly.
Catastrophe Hammond organ and piano cannot stop this seemingly being JJR on autopilot after Harms Way, Saved from mediocrity by a brilliantly delivered line âYou light me up like an angler fishâ.
Eagle Eye Ball A bit of a JSBX homage going on here, but great performance, superb song where JJ plays a stalker to sublimely creepy effect.
Midnight Oceans & The Savage Heart is the psychedelic-feedback doo-wop masterpiece that closes the album when perhaps Harms Way shouldâve been saved for the climax. Instead of a string-section the guitars create sustained delicately controlled feedback. A Twin Peaks feel to this one and great crooning from Jim.
Despite all of my trademark comparisons to other artistes the Jim Jones Revue really do sound like themselves and themselves alone. Iâm tempted to say this album outshines even the Blues Explosions new one (which Iâve only heard once) and Grindermans second (which I just didnât dig as much as the first) but maybe thatâs just my personal slant on it, one-guys-opinion.
Overall though, there is no doubt whatsoever, that this is a blinding, powerful, magnificent, cinematic, rip-roaring rockânâroll album.