* Prices may differ from that shown
THE JIM JONES REVIEW
It was on a long boring train journey I first heard about The Jim Jones Revue. I had been browsing my ipod for something to listen to but really had exhausted most of my music. In boredom, I picked up a discarded Metro and came across a review of a a gig by a band called The Jim Jones Revue. The paper raved about this gig and it sounded like something I'd like, so I made a note to look them up. So glad I did as they could quite possibly be my new favourite band.
The Jim Jones Revue are a 5 piece English band based in London, fronted, funnily enough, by Jim Jones. They formed in 2007 when Jim met guitarist Rupert Orton on a club night in London. Add Gavin Jay on bass, Nick Jones on drums, and Henri Herbert on piano (until recently Elliot Mortimer) and you have The Jim Jones Revue. Their debut was recorded in just 48 hours in a rehearsal space in Camden Town and released in September 2008. 'Burning Your House down' followed last year.
They say their influences are The Killer, The Georgia Peach, The Memphis Flash and the deranged sons of Detroit and they are described as 'sounding like a car crash between Little Richard and The MC5'. Personally, I can hear all sorts in there. The Jim Jones Revue are classed as 'garage rock' which I guess means they can be whatever they like - 50s rock n roll, punk, blues.. you name it, I'm pretty sure they can do it all and more often than not all in the one song! Jim Jones is a fantastic front man, with a show stopping growl. At times I can hear James Brown, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop even Elvis on occasion...if there's a formula for a great front man, Jim Jones knows it.
In addition to their common old fans like me, they have quite a following from their peers too. Their recent London show has audience members such as Liam Gallagher and Nick Cave and other famous fans are said to include Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes, Jack White and Mick Jones.
"The Jim Jones Revue imagine that rock'n'roll didn't really need to evolve after 1956; it just needed to get much,much louder and wildly more distorted" (The Guardian)
"If Little Richard had written this, he'd still be boasting about it today!" (Mojo)
All this suggests these guys are pretty amazing, but does their second album 'Burning Your House Down' live up to the hype?
BURNING YOUR HOUSE DOWN
"You dirrrrty guy..."
The album opens with a quiet drum beat that will make you adjust your volume control just as DISHONEST JOHN kicks in and blows your eardrums! It starts off with fantastic piano and sounding like it fell straight out the fifties. You half expect a sweet, clean vocal and bubblegum lyrics to follow.. instead you are hit with Jim Jones growling into your ear. Much better! A short but sweet intro to the album but it really hits the spot.
"Maybe one mistake but I won't do it again"
As HIGH HORSE begins, again, we are deceived into thinking this song is going to be a bit more low key with simple sweet piano before Jim treats us to a, by now, trademark growling intro before the rest of the band members join in. Fast paced, 50s fun. I can see Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis rocking away to this!
"Come closer my dear, I can almost taste you from here"
Not the most usual of instruments a foghorn opens, er FOGHORN and I can see no other reason why this song is called this! Not that it matters, this by far my favourite song on the album. It's probably the most rocky, and I love how it switches tempo, from crazily fast with everything going on at once (how these guys have got enough fingers to play this fast I've not idea) to just the sound a of symbol and Jones giving us the line above. Most guys would get a slap if they said that to you, when Jim Jones says it...it works.
"I'll take a pound of flesh and a barrel of Bud"
Woo! Yeah! Jones shouts throughout as he sing to us about BIG LEN. Some amazing guitar solos means this is one to get the air guitar out to. I love how Jones sings the line "that's where you're mistaken" as low as he can go right in your ear. A track that will send shivers down your spine.
"Stuck in the tomb of the unknown blues, you know it's gonna take the shine off your shoes"
PREMEDITATED is a full on track with some great lyrics and a frantic beat. Brilliant.
"Yeah, shove it in your face..."
Again a fairly subdued start for this one and over all a little less hectic than the other offerings for the title track BURNING YOUR HOUSE DOWN. No less enjoyable though, with some class growls and great piano from Elliot Mortimer. Don't call Jones a lair...he'll set your house on fire.
"Make sure it's loaded"
SHOOT FIRST is a real stand out track. A little more going on than in the previous, but still a little more chilled (even though this would be full power for some bands!) A riff that will get you stuck in your head and some impressive vocals.
"Come over here a give me a kiss"
Back on full speed, ELEMENTAL is Jones on a full on ramble, I defy you not to not to smile listening to this. Too many good lines to quote... It slows down to a classy finish and leaves you wanting more.
"They say only the good die young, but I think in your case we can make an exception"
KILLING SPREE is a fun song despite the dark subject matter. You just can't help but join in with the 'ooohh eees'! A great track, but too short. I guess I'll just hit repeat.
"Take all that is righteous and make it wrong"
With vocals full of soul RIGHTEOUS WRONG is another track that will leave you will your mouth open and shivers down your back. Full of sex appeal, this is one track where Jones flits between Jagger and James Brown whilst still keeping his own style. Very very impressive.
"Got a memory like an old swiss cheese"
To finish, STOP THE PEOPLE is back to the classic rock 'n' roll sound. This finale will make you want to get up and dance. Some amazing guitar matched with frantic rolling piano matched with Jones growling some very amusing lyrics make this a real high to end on. The line 'Just can't stop the people' recurs throughout and at the end is left on 'Just can't stop....' and it does. A very confident end to an album and oh so cool.
I guess you're thinking I liked this album then? Wrong I loved it! I can not play this enough and it gets better with every listen. While each song is a treat alone, 'Burning Your House Down' is best listened to in it's entirety as each song just effortlessly melts into the next. Each member gives there all and while Jim Jones in the front man, everyone in this band is a star. Unlike a lot of bands where the focus is on the words and the singer and the rest creates a musical backdrop, in The Jim Jones Revue you hear every instrument as they battle for you attention whilst somehow maintaining to compliment each other and keep that overall intense sound.
At times 'Burning Your House Down' can sound a little messy, random even like a jam session but that's part of it's charm. Even under all that eccentricity though, they still manage to keep some sort of order.
The album is crammed with witty lyrics that seem to jump out at you -one liners from a mass of sound. I've mentioned that Jones' voice is pretty impressive but his diction at times is not and the sheer pace sometimes makes it hard to work out what the hell he's on about. Having said that, even when you can work out what he's saying it doesn't always make a lot of sense. Hence why it's pretty difficult to write review which goes 'this song is about...' The thing about this band though, is it just doesn't matter. Jones uses his voice more like an instrument than a device to say sometime deep and meaningful, it's all about the sound. True it means it's a little hard to sing along but, hell, just make it up and anyway this is the sort of music that gets your body moving from the floor up so you're feet will be moving and then your hips...before you know it you'll be dancing around long before you think about the words!
Overall, if you hear this album and The Jim Jones Revue is not instantly your favourite band then pffft to you.