MASONIC RECORDS 12th May 2017
The Jim Jones Revue was an explosion of percussion-piano in an electric extension of Jerry Lee Lewis’ lineage. Electrifying both live and on record, it was a sad day when they split and a guarded relief when, a few days later, Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind was formed and rehearsing. A year on, this album is balm to the worried mind, power to the righteous mind, but never balmy. Guitars howl and fuzz, the keys are pounded as furiously as before and reprobate-in-chief, Jim Jones, whoops and hollers atop the unholy racket.
Inheriting only Jim and the bassist from the previous band, this is a heavier sound; still rooted in rock and roll but infusing dirty blues and screaming scuzz. Take the attitude of The Cramps and whizz it into the blues and turn it up three times, then take a singer with bleeding tonsils and you are approaching this band’s elemental sound.
I can’t find a duff track so the best I can offer is a mini-tour of the peaks of the set. Base Is Loaded is a walking, no, make that strutting, blues. Threatening backing chorus, crunching riffs and gargles-with-glass vocals make this a stand-out across its six glorious minutes. Aldecide has that same backing vocal and a blues feel yet it swings like a demolition ball. Boil Yer Blood throws in heavy bass and high-pitched oscillator to colour this thumping and needling rocking blues.
It’s not all about the rock: Shallow Grave shows Jim can still do the ballad. Unpolished and heartfelt, it is an effective and arresting centrepiece. Everyone But Me is as gentle as they get, tinkling piano refrain and rising arpeggio; it sees the album out. Meanwhile, Heavy Lounge channels a glam sensibility before getting all low and dirty. Till It’s All Gone is all about the drums and the hollered vocals, an iteration of a pop sensibility in the garage.
There we have it: Seven stand-out tracks on a ten track album. Apparently utterly without artifice, this seems to be an authentic and painfully raw expression of garage-punk blues perfected. Play it loud.