Plastic Fang

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

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Plastic Fang Review

by MacKenzie Wilson

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's wild blues on critical albums like Orange and Now I Got Worry defined the band as belonging in a league of its own. The electronica mold of 1998's Acme album was sophisticatedly different, but the grit found in the band's previous work was nearly absent. The band might have known it as well -- a change in direction was due. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's eighth record, Plastic Fang, doesn't overlook anything this time, for the album exudes a new power. Spencer and his mates sought the expertise and slick work of musician/producer Steve Jordan, who brought brashness back to the front. "Sweet n Sour" flourishes with a huge guitar blast, and Spencer's tangy vocal howl has never sounded better. "She Said" is comprised of typical swagger, but it's the Rolling Stones-like romp of "Mean Heart" that's truly killer. (It's Spencer's best take on a ballad too.) "Down in the Beast" has an explosive wail, and the chug-chug-chugga rawk of "Money Rock 'n' Roll" rollicks even harder. As a songwriter, Spencer is impressive, and the Blues Explosion's collaboration with Dr. John and Bernie Worrell on the seductive, bluesy, and brooding "Hold On" suggests that Plastic Fang isn't exactly focused on one particular sound. With Jordan's assistance, Plastic Fang sounds live and abrasive, infectious and undeniable.

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