Straight No Chaser

CD Review – Street Sweeper Social Club (Tom Morello’s best band

Ghetto Blaster EP

Take the funky Boots Riley and the guitar genius of Tom Morello and the sum is so exponentially better than it’s parts, that you’d have to wonder how they ever made it on their own. On the second release from their “side project,” Riley’s politically charged lyrics sound like a new and reinvigorated Zack de la Rocha, especially when he raps that “every cop is a corrupt one” and “every banker’s a f—in’ theif” before they break into a snare drum lead chorus that is a direct knockoff of “Bulls on Parade.”

The two surprises, however are the two covers. The lead single “Paper Planes” takes M.I.A.’s ubiquitous hit and essentially sends it through the Morello machine that is his guitar. The chorus is filled with guitar noises that only Tom Morello could make sound like they are supposed to be in the song. But Tom is just beginning. LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” starts off with Boots, who is every bit as intense as LL Cool J spitting rhymes that are so hard, you’ll need a raincoat. Then Morello’s fingers dance on the guitar so fast that you’d think he has four hands. It is simply amazing. Street Sweeper Social Club is one of the best groups of 2010, hands down. The Boots Riley/Tom Morello combo is one of the most potent in rock music today. I think Boots said it best at the end of “Mama Said Knock You Out” when he said “You’ve just been rocked by the Street Sweeper Social Club. We’re not a band. We’re a motherf—in’ social club.”

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