Spencer Plays The Hits
In The Red
My friend Charley and I have a long-running joke – so long-running there’s a high possibility it’s been brought up before in a previous review – involving the Spencertron 3000, a sampling keyboard dedicated to reproducing Jon Spencer’s instantly recognizable whoops and haws. I bring this up to make the point that Jon Spencer is Jon Spencer, whether it’s with the Blues Explosion, Heavy Trash, Dub Narcotic, Boss Hogg, and another half-dozen projects I’m not listing.
So it’s surprising that this is his first “solo” album, and unsurprising that it sounds like something that involves Jon Spencer: Monster pentatonic fuzz riffing, a woozy vocal delivery that borrows equally from the Cramps’ Lux Interior and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and so much attitude that you might want to get another roll of paper towels.
On this outing, Spencer is joined by fellow genius Sam Coomes (Quasi) on overdriven keyboards and synth bass, the two of them jostling for attention in the middle register for delightful effect. Drums are handled by M. Sord, who has somehow been avoiding recognition for the last 25 years. Russell Simins (who played the kit for many previous Spencer outings) leaves big shoes to fill, but Sord handily kicks them aside on his way to the throne to deliver something capable of pacing (and sometimes overtaking) Spencer and Coomes’ hustle.
Suffice it to say, this is the type of album you put on at a party, on repeat if possible, and get ready to field out-of-breath questions on who this is from those that can’t keep up with the dancing. Mind the furniture.