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Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind - Super Natural album review

Album Review

JJ & co. easily bring your blood to boil

When hellacious Thee Hypnotics/Black Moses firebrand frontman Jim Jones disbanded his widely acclaimed Revue in 2014 there was much rending of skin-tight leather garments across the whiskey-addled world of full-tilt, snake-handling, mondocollapsorock’n’roll.

The Jim Jones Revue were an urgent echo of wilder times, Jerry Lee at The Star Club force-fed amphetamines and tilted so far into the red as to be way beyond salvation. JJR recordings were only ever painfully loud, deafened at minimum volume, and invariably sounded like desperate last rites screamed into the pasty face of rock’n’roll’s not-so-fresh corpse. So, when the final feral death throe of free-range, southern-fried rock-a-boogie’s ultimate incarnation’s done, where next?

When it comes to serving up a bit of fin de siecle psychodrama, Jim Jones is not without form. There was a time that Thee Hypnotics looked a whole lot like the last rock band. A second coming of The Stooges to conjure up a last squall of declamatory feedback to accompany a seemingly inexorable slide into Stock Aitken Waterman plasticity. Jim Jones’s speciality lies in providing soundtracks for end times, and with The Righteous Mind in tow, he’s fired up a funeral pyre of rare intensity.

Opening crescendo Dream sets out Super Natural’s stall with a veritable multiple orgasm of guitars clamouring their way to climax, before settling down to the serious business of searing your soul. A fundamental change is the substitution of keyboard player Matt Millership for ex-JJR secret weapon boogie-woogie ivory savage Henri Herbert. Herbert’s signature schtick couldn’t help but dominate, and ultimately define, the Revue’s direction, while the Righteous Mind’s possibilities are expanded by Millership’s comparative subtlety, which can be raucously McLagan here, atmospherically Eno there.

But, even with added space, it’s the sheer intensity that’s JJ’s greatest strength. Base Is Loaded piles on the guitars and roaring energy until you ache for release. Its undeniable cumulative power may be an anathema to the anodyne mewling of mainstream pop tastes, but as a complementary accompaniment to good, old juvenile delinquency it’s incomparable. Jones’s vocal has gutsed-up, gained a gravel-gargling Waits-ian weight that suits TRM’s swampland boogie perfectly. Elsewhere No Fool swaggers loutishly, Aldecide sows a Bad Seed vibe and Boil Yer Blood delivers on its promise. Righteous stuff and then some.

TeamRock+

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