Boss Hog

Brood X

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Boss Hog have always been a band content to work on a time-line that would puzzle most bands, perfectly willing to go five years between releases as they attended to their other projects. But 2017's Brood X arrives over 16 years after their last proper album, 2000's Whiteout, as Cristina Martinez sets aside her duties as a working mom and Jon Spencer takes some downtime from his Blues Explosion. If Boss Hog sound a bit different than they did at the dawn of the 21st century, that's to be expected, but Brood X (and the 2016 companion EP Brood Star) reveals that they've changed very little conceptually; their dirty mixture of punkified blues, raw funk, and stoned but committed show band swagger is a bit less swampy, but it will still make you feel good and greasy after a few spins. Just as Blues Explosion integrated elements of sampling and hip-hop beats into their music, Boss Hog have followed suit on Brood X, and these accents feel right at home here, adding greater booty-shaking potential to their mélange of booming trash-can drumming, buzzy and fuzzy guitars, and low-tech keyboards. Boss Hog seem a bit more laid-back in the later innings of this album, though that's not to say Martinez or Spencer has gotten smooth or mellow; on "Sunday Routine" and "17," the group generates a moody, richly textured sound that resembles a stripped-down New York variant on PJ Harvey, especially with Martinez's coolly modulated vocals. Boss Hog don't kick as hard as they once did, but what they've lost in muscle they've certainly made up for in terms of atmosphere and creativity in the studio, and Brood X is worth a spin for anyone who digs their grimy glory -- especially since it's hard to guess when we might hear from them again.

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