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Record Review


Blooz-rock fans know that Plastic Fang is the voodoo totem that gave the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion its mojo back. But it's not just voodoo that's responsible for what might well be the New York trio's finest album to date.

On 1998's Acme, singer/guitarist Spencer yelped, "I don't play no blues, I play rock 'n' roll!" Plastic Fang backs up that claim. Throughout Acme, Spencer -- along with guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins -- was too preoccupied with guest producers. But for Fang, the group has put down the groove boxes and rediscovered the gut bucket, dipping their hands in dirty, dirty Delta soil infused with blood, blisters and swagger. No more focusing on breakbeats to get their groove on.

This isn't the first time JSBX has stripped down (the raw Now I Got Worry followed the '70s funk/soul-influenced Orange). But this time, the band has managed to move its focus forward by going back to basics, crafting some of its most visceral, skuzzy, bastardized backwoods boogie meets gritty garage meets blues-by-way-of-'70s-Britain. Across 12 tracks, JSBX romp from stomp to shuffle -- and they really sinking their Fang into it.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion plays the Echo Lounge Sat., April 27.

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