Music Reviews

Boss Hog

White Out

In the Red

I had about given up on the notion Boss Hog would ever resurface after their self-titled release some five years ago. Jon Spencer and his Blues Explosion had been recording steadily, and vocalist/sexbomb Cristina Martinez had all but faded, except for the occasional mental fantasy imagery.

Then it happens…a subtle white CD sleeve with the White Out advance. Could this be? Ten new tracks? It is so…Not only that, but the production team alone was impressive, and included members/producers of groups like Gang of Four, The The, and the Cardigans, among others. Pretty impressive input, but could they take the reigns and deliver?

What transpires is a potpourri of sounds, tones, and quirks that encompass the influences of all the producers involved – perhaps the unfamiliar use of organs and a drum machine on several tunes may cause uncertainty. But fear not, this really is Boss Hog! I found my own influences within the album – the Cramps came to mind when Spencer’s vocals kicked in, and an early B-52s playfulness is evident, especially on the title track. Or consider the Shirley Manson (Garbage) parallels that surface on “Stereolight.”

We certainly have an interesting dichotomy to what one might define as the Boss Hog sound. White Out would surely make for a more commercially viable “modern rock” record with some nicely constructed tunes like “Itchy & Scratchy” and “Get it While You Want.” Both have a groovy pop sound without overstepping the boundaries of good taste. I wouldn’t have expected the amount of sounds and artificial effects from a Jon Spencer-related project, but Cristina’s voice manages to rise above the clutter to maintain a sweet harshness as found on “Trouble” or “Jaguar.”

Think not of Boss Hog from the days of Amphetamine Reptile past and delve into the new realm of White Out . The band maintains its sexual charisma and hails the new release “For Lovers Only.”

In The Red, 2627 E. Strong Pl., Anaheim, CA 92806


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