Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The JSB Explosion's early catalogue has undergone the remastering/expansion process but here's the essential starting point on any investigation: Orange from '94 was their career highpoint, an album which dragged their alt.rock/Elvis-on-speed, rock'n'roll blues into mainstream attention for its concise, harmonica-wheezing, Cramps-like energy and challengingly brittle sound.
By this time they owed as much to Fifties rebel rock'n'roll and Sixties garageband noise-merchants such as Blue Cheer as they did to filthy blues, country music and punk rock. And they were cocky enough to namecheck themselves in Sweat and Blues X Man.
Orange has been likened to the Stones' Exile on Main Street for its freewheeling use of sources and ragged, (seeming) indiscipline -- but this was also an album that was much more consciously thought through as it refers to Stax soul and James Brown, and was an assertively positive collection of songs than the sometimes angry albums of the band's earlier incarnation. Party music in many places, and when Spencer yells "Play the blues, punk" on Dissect you know everyone is on the joke.
And on the profane love song to his wife he yelps "my father was Sister Ray". Hilarious.
Fellow blues-traveller Beck phones in his poem-part on the Stevie Wonder-funk of Flavor (where they also brag about how big they are).
The expanded original album now comes with many, many remixes from the Experimental Remixes EP of the same year (and others from an expanded version of the same) plus a few more tracks.
All up this package stretches to 34 tracks.
That's a lot of JSB Explosion but the mad energy, humour, edgy punk-blues and soul stabs make it a thoroughly enjoyable, rowdy ride.
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