16 years down from the last Boss Hog release and the formula remains unchanged. Christina Martinez sneers effusively in a manner pitched somewhere between Kathleen Hanna and Debbie Harry; Jon Spencer’s licks haven’t lost any fuzz even if he may have acquired some grey hairs over the years; and the ten tracks here are tight and punchy slabs of good old-fashioned down-home punk rock. Oh, and it was recorded on Sly Stone's desk you know.
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Fuzzy riff exploder Jon Spencer returns, with a great serving of self-appraised excitement, to the Boss Hog project, which he shares with end-times singer Christina Martinez. Together they create the pop rock version of an apocalypse, creating ominous anthems around whirring synth cataclysms, heavy rock distortion and a lot of loud wail-shouting. Are you excited? Your ears are about to get fuzzed.
I won’t mince: on ‘Brood X’ They sound extremely into the rock thing, making pretty plainspoken songs with excessively simple melodies and extremely radio-heavy rock riffs. “Black Eyes” is a sleuthing rock tune that favours the economics of rock music to be sparse and bare, the tune almost subsisting off basslines and choice licks in its verse before meandering into synths and weird vocal phasing. The whole record sorta seeks out the tension between straightforwardly structured rock music and its meandering, off-kilter sibling -- “Ground Control” and “Signal” are both weird, lopsided tracks in which Martinez is dangling odd, stream-of-consciousness warnings and Spencer is making oddball and often hilarious musical ad-libs (see: the “c’mons!” on “Signal”. I shudder).
It’s a project that sorta mingles Jon Spencer’s slightly corny affectations with a more ominous rock environment, and ‘Brood X’ shows both a lightness and hostility to his sound, with Martinez delivering yet another fine pantomime. It might be for another listener's ears, but it's weirdly very much made me want to go watch Nashville.
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