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The Blues Explosion

Damage (Sanctuary)


Who'd've thunk Jon Spencer could last this long? After getting mostly slagged for Pussy Galore, the crass trash combo (now a prime influence on the punk scene) that he put together in New York City in the late '80s, he finally garnered respect for the sweat-pouring, punk-blues innovations of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Then he spent that cred with the overwrought electronica of 1999's Acme. Since then he's become humble, settling his sound into a kind of Cubist roots band, now simply called the Blues Explosion.

Damage is settled, but it's solid. The Facesish groove of "Crunchy" is satisfying, and the shifty rip-ups "Fed Up and Low Down" and "Burn It Off" prove that the band can still wail. Spencer's still too lazy with lyrics, though, and he ought to abandon all attempts to be "down" if his idea of keeping it real is the feckless rap hybrid "Hot Gossip."

But despite the ceaseless accusations of posing, Spencer's band remains an odd testament to his aging fan base. And it ought to provide inspiration to the young lookers of the recent N.Y.C. "comeback" (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Interpol), who conveniently misplace his influence amid all the Gang of Four gabbing.

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