John Spencer Blues Explosion - Meat & Bone Reviewed: 8 Years Away But Still F*cking Brilliant

After a long hiatus John Spencer Blues Explosion are back with their own unique brand of real blues. It's angular, unorthodox and a stunning return to the musical fold...
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After a long hiatus John Spencer Blues Explosion are back with their own unique brand of real blues. It's angular, unorthodox and a stunning return to the musical fold...

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After a break of 8 years that saw John Spencer Blues Explosion members veer off in some new and previously explored musical directions, the band are back and have knocked new album Meat and Bone out of New York’s infamous Key Club studio, and let Good ol' Mister Spencer do all the mixing and producing himself too.

As a result Meat and Bone has the gritty, raw, bluesy feel to it that we have come to expect from JSBE.  Vocals are a madcap dance somewhere between Sid Vicious’ snarl and Hendrix’s smooth blues, Guitars on every track switch between fuzzy distortion and screeching tearaway solos, whilst somehow in the background drummer Russell Simins manages to keep his wayward, funk filled band members in time.

This is what has always made JSBE brilliant though; they are not afraid to get their hands ‘dirty’ musically and try new things.

For new listeners of the band, the album may seem confusing and at times overwhelming as its hard to decide at times, whether you’re listening to a band inspired by the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or the 80’s punk scene and if you can’t stomach the whole bag of Meat and Bone’s in one go, skip to the deliciously mad ‘Bag of Bones’ or ‘Danger’. However for fans of the band already, or people prepared to accept JSBE’s style straight off, you will find that each song has something new to offer listeners, be it punk, delta blues, rock n roll or just plain musical mayhem. This is what has always made JSBE brilliant though; they are not afraid to get their hands ‘dirty’ musically and try new things and their daring and tenacity has helped to make a record that will put to bed any fears people had about why a band are reforming after nearly a decade. It seems obvious that JSBE are clearly still as in love with their music as they always were.

 9/10


Meat & Bone is released September 17th on Bronze Rat Records.

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