For me, the sign of a great album is when you instantly want to talk to as many people about it as possible after only one listen. This statement is no more true than when I listened to The Jim Jones Revue’s self-titled debut back in early 2010.
Taking the rollicking 50s rock n’ roll of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, feeding it through a wave of distortion, played with punk like attitude remiscent of the MC5 with added heavy rock riffing, they bring their vintage sound bang up to date for the 21st Century. It was recorded over a 48 hour period in their rehearsal space in Camden , London and was released in September 2008. The speed at which they recorded the album adds to the albums power and urgency. Over the course of its 10 tracks the intensity and break neck speed the band performs at leaves you breathless once the album reaches its end. Lead singer Jim Jones screams and hollers his way through each track as if his life depended on it. The production is loud and in your face, ensuring you take notice and give it your full attention as it batters you into submission. The upfront and intense nature is offset by the brilliant piano playing by Elliot Mortimer which is the essential ingredient that gives these vintage, good-time rock n roll songs their soul. Along with the vocals, all the instruments sound like they are being played through a shredded PA system, but in a good way!
Opener ‘Princess and the Frog’ sets the album up and gives you the first flavour of the bands power which is followed by the fantastic cover version of Little Richards ‘Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey’ with all its groove and rock n roll brilliance expertly conveyed by the band. Single ‘Rock n’ Roll Psychosis’ with its descending, badass guitar and piano riff, packs a mighty punch. Its groove and frentic delivery is a true album highlight.
‘Fish To Fry’ comes on like a,possessed, hip thrusting, Elvis, and the pogo-inducing ’512′ is like an up to date ‘Johnny B Goode’ if Chuck Berry had heard ‘Raw Power’-era Iggy And The Stooges. The wall of noise production throughout the album is very similar to the aforementioned Iggy And The Stooges Album with the mixing desk set to maximum on all fronts. Every song on the album is relentless in its enthusiasm, and final track ’Cement Mixer’ is a slow blues-groove with high end Hammmond Organ making an appearance for the first and only time. It is the heaviest track on the album and brings the album to a powerful close.
Another aspect that becomes apparent when listening is just how brilliant and powerful you can imagine this band is in a live environment, in a small, sweaty club with the bands energy up close and personal. I was lucky enough to catch them at Download Festival in the summer of 2010. Despite the appaling weather at the time, and a questionable sound system, their live show was a joy and their music is impossible to not dance to.
Taking all the classic ingredients that were essential in founding the rock music we hear today, the band have added an energy and intensity making itstill feel relevant 50 years on. There is nothing profound lyrically, but, its Rock n’ Roll in its purest form, and should be enjoyed as it is intended to be: A party Rock n’ Roll album that makes you want to dance. Its a big two fingered gesture to the ‘Beard-Stroking’ music fraternity who want music to make them think. This band just want to you let loose and party like nothing else matters.
Their second album ‘Burning Down Your House’ was released late last year and picks up where this album left off. It’s production is slightly cleaner with a few of the rough edges smoothed out. But the band are no less powerful in their delivery and the album expands their pallete more musically, showing the band can develop this classic sound whilst staying true to true to its roots which, is what set them apart in the first place. But as an introduction to the world of this band, then their debut is the finest place to start.