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UK punks tap into the
essence and urgency of
1950s rock & roll

The Jim Jones Revue - Burning Your House Down
(Punk Rock Blues Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 24, 2011
The Jim Jones Revue

Review by Tony Bonyata

It was three years ago that the London-based band The Jim Jones Revue released their self-titled debut effort - an incendiary and deranged homage to the earliest strains of rock & roll. Since that time they've continued to mix the fire & brimstone fever of both Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis with the unharnessed power and urgency of punk bands such as Detroit's MC5 & The Stooges, as well as the implosive post-punk of Nick Cave's early Australian band The Birthday Party.

Their 2008 debut was an abrasive, in-the-red mix of '50s rave-ups with crushing piano, psychotic guitars that slashed in the vein of New York Dolls' Johnny Thunders, and Jones' own menacing howl that often sounded like he was being burned at the stake. Although their new album, appropriately titled Burning Your House Down, follows in a similar music path, it's given a less distorted feel and more direct musical punch from Jim Sclavunos' (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Grinderman) production. While admittedly not as menacing as its predecessor, Burning Your House Down still finds this quintet in fine and fiery form.

The album kicks off with the piano-pounding rocker "Dishonest John" and refuses to let up through the remaining half-hour, as the band plows through bludgeoning takes of "High Horse," "Big Len," "Shoot First" and the spastic bump-and-grind of "Elemental." While Jones and co. pull in the reigns ever so slightly on the bluesy swagger of the title track, the singer still turns in a commanding vocal performance with all the fevered passion of a Pentecostal preacher, where Jones doesn't speak in tongues as much as he barks and bellows in them.

They close the album out with "Stop The People," a roof-raising boogie-woogie number that oddly resembles that of Paul McCartney's 1973 hit "Helen Wheels." Although considering that McCartney, like Jones, was highly influenced by the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and other music rebels from the mid-to-late '50s, I guess this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

Apparently Jones has heard the rumblings that rock & roll may just, in fact, be the Devil's music, because here it sounds as if he and his cohorts are auditioning for the position of Hades' house-band.

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