Once upon a time rock ’n’ roll was about rebellion.
Once upon a time rock ’n’ roll was about rebellion. It was about anti-establishment concepts wrapped up in obnoxious rhetoric and flung violently in the face of the self-serving institutions of normality and decency. When rock ’n’ roll took on a thin veneer of respectability, punk rock appeared to remind the masses that the most memorable art lives on the fringes of society, spitting and sneering at the dominant discourse. Decades later, and the cycle lives on: without regular injections of punk spirit, rock ’n’ roll is as flaccid as a Pat Boone Christmas album.
The Jim Jones Revue throw back to a time when rock ’n’ roll was the flag bearer for social insurrection. Like Jerry Lee Lewis, The Jim Jones Revue play rock ’n’ roll with a view to moral corruption. This is fire and brimstone stuff; Jones is the showman and shaman in the pulpit, preaching the virtuous properties of rock ’n’ roll mania. Within the opening seconds of Dishonest John, Jim Jones has screamed himself hoarse, and you know redemption is just around the corner.
High Horse makes Jon Spencer seem like a timid choir boy, Foghorn is intense in its Spartan rock ’n’ roll attack and Premeditated takes us back to the original Motor City riffalicious attitude of Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band.
Burning Down Your House is replete with the whisky-laden spit and bile of Tom Waits stumbling drunk, deranged, depraved and deprived in a Memphis whorehouse, while Elemental wanders out bleary-eyed into the street and finds itself whisked away for a manic drive down the freeway with a speed-addled Little Richard. Killin’ Spree is first degree murder in its coolest, swaggering guise, and on Righteous Wrong, The Jim Jones Revue highlight the slippery contradiction between right and wrong. The socio-political messaging of Stop the People comes a distant second to the Keef-on-methamphetamine honky tonk soundtrack.
Let it be said early: The Jim Jones Revue promise to be the outstanding moment of the forthcoming Big Day Out. This is rock ’n’ roll as God always feared it would be.