Fat Possum (label)
30 January 2023 (released)
30 January 2023
Since the inception, eruption and ultimate commercial corruption of rock and roll in the mid-1950s there have been numerous artists intent on fanning the flames, zealous obsessives dedicated to preserving the raw, rootsy, rebellious essence that kick-started a generation and still strives to permeate popular music today.
From Jon Spencer’s heraldic homages (c.f. Pussy Galore/Boss Hogg/Blues Explosion) and Ian Svenonious’ many (dis)guises in his eternal deconstruction of ‘rock’ hopes and tropes, the late, great Dan Sartain’s garage-rockabilly despatches (‘Head Change’), Kelly Stoltz’s power-pop excursions (‘Find It’) to The Black Keys’ pristine pastiches (whose Patrick Carney produced the album) the guttural potency of this feral form still retains the capacity to all shake up the listener. Short, sharp shocks to the central nervous system, the impetus to shake, rattle and roll the soul via raucous riffing, bar-room blues-blitzing and flab-free fuzz-scuzz.
Into this breach return Mississippi triumvirate Bass Drum of Death with new long-player, their fifth, ‘Say I Won’t’ out on Fat Possum records. Leaving the big city to go back to his hometown instigated a reset, a recharge and return to roots for mainman John Barrett.
This is the first BDoD album to see Barrett open up the creative process, where in the past he would solider alone on a laptop here he has enlisted his touring group (including brother Jim Barrett) to create a live record with technical flourishes added later. The result is a rip-roaring rampage, a breathless tour de force of nature. Punchy lyricism augmented by crunchy empiricism, up-front attitude meets backseat beatitude.
‘No Soul’ is pure barstool preacher, sharp-tool teacher. Hellfire and brimstoner sermonising. ZZ Top’s road-gauge desert-blues oozes through the closing ‘Too Cold To Hold’.
The swampy ‘Say your prayers’ is an infectious hook-up with Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr, it’s a tale-spinner worthy of the Brothers Grimm, replete with lying in wait hungry wolves and visiting devils.