The Savage Heart - Jim Jones Revue (Liberator)
If you didn't think they were the genuine deal, "The Savage Heart" puts it beyond doubt. The savagery's one aspect, the swing's the real thing. In nine songs, The Jim Jones Revue unleashes energy to fuel a thousand lights.
Even so, this one is destined to divide followers - especially those who have been glued-on since the start. Y'see, sonically-speaking, the Revue has cleaned up its act. Production is many miles away from the all-amps-on-12 distorto blast of the debut album. But more on that soon.
Whether declaiming on the soul-shaking and guttural "Never Let You Go" or crooning like Bobby Darrin with a habit on "Midnight Oceans & The Savage Heart", Mr Jones hisself covers all the bases. There's a goodly dose of distorted guitar and a slice of keys but it's the percussion that nails this mother to the floor and pounds it until it ain't getting up again. "Where Da Money Go?" makes it an open and shut case.
Ex-Cramp, Sonic Youth, Grinderman and (in this case notably) Nick Cave rhythm man Jim Sclavunos produced "The Savage Heart" so there's a temptation to say the Revue has gone all Bad Seeds on us. The aforementioned "Never Let You Go" carries more than a whiff of "Henry's Dream". This is not a bad thing. Really though, it and "7 Times Around The Sun" are mining the same vein of negro spirituals and Little Richard key thumping that's captured a legion of skinny white boys down the years. The point to be made is that few pull it off this well and if it sounds too clean, turn it right up..
You expect a song called "Chain Gang" to sound like one. It does and it comes across all creepy, too. This is mid-period Beasts of Bourbon (before the extreme forcefulness and bluster set in.) A track like "Catastrophe", on the other hand has plenty of bombast. Rupert Orton peels off some ripe guitar licks like a taxidermist stripping off hide, while the engine room swings like an executioner's axe.
As befitting a record produced by one of the earliest participants in the No Wave Scene, "Eagle Eye Ball" has an industrial edge to its spine. Ultimately, however, the album steers a delicate path between being radio friendly (relatively speaking) and retaining old fans.