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Album Review
Burning Your House Down

Burning Your House Down
by The Jim Jones Revue


Review Date
24th November 2010
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

While a large proportion of the music community are pushing their style forwards, and another is apparently maintaining theirs in stasis, there will always be musicians taking influence from their distant past. These revivalists dig through the sounds of yesteryear and (with varying degrees of faithfulness to the original material) sew it into their own artistic tapestry. 70s revivalism is always popular with the hard rock and heavy metal set looking to return to a more authentic rock sound. The dancier elements of the 1980s colour our pop music, informing everyone from the Killers to the ubiquitous Gagas. The different shades of 60s psychedelic guitar-pop have become touchstones for indie rockers and experimentalists alike. Even the 90s, barely 10 years behind us, has been fuelling radio-oriented rock for most of the decade. So how about the 50s? Is it perhaps “too old” for cool kids to truly embrace? Perhaps it is seen as” too square” to be updated.

Enter The Jim Jones Revue, hailing from London, with a big middle finger just for people who would dare make such a claim out of such an overlooked chapter in the history of popular music. While Little Richard, Bill Haley, and Buddy Holly might sound somewhat tame by today’s standards in their day they were often portrayed as the pinnacle of teenage debauchery and vendors of dangerously adult themes to children. Jim Jones and his merry band of miscreants understand this and filter it through their tasty garage rock fuzz. The man himself, Jim Jones, shrieks and splutters like Jerry Lee Lewis as-possessed-by Iggy Pop, belting away under a ragged honky-tonk piano. This pretty much sums up their approach to songs; scream the hell out of them, pile on the stacks of guitars and keys, and scare the crap out of whoever is listening. Lead single High Horse swaggers and swelters before collapsing onto itself like the Hives at their electrifying best. A few tracks down the line on one of the albums many highlights, Big Lens kicks off with an overdriven and thoroughly pissed-off sounding Beach Boys groove married to Mr Jones’ ramblings reminiscent of Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfer fame. “I’ll fuck you up / I’ll let you down” he intones, not as a threat but as a promise.

Behind the production desk sits a different Jim, Bad Seed multi-instrumentalist Jim Sclavunos, accentuating every haggard chord and feral boast that the band can throw down. It is him that gives the overall sound the bruising quality that leaves such a lasting impression. By leaning on the vibe of rock of old The Jim Jones Revue tactfully sidestep the pitfalls of modern rock (being ballads, stadium-grade cheese, and affected disaffection). Admittedly the album does start to sound a little same-y as the songs struggle to differentiate from one another. But at a lean 32 minutes you will be hard pressed to stop partying for long enough to care. The Revue has tapped into a rich seam of good time’s tunes for wasted people to get wasted to and they sound like they love every minute of it. It can be strange to think about how rare it is these days to hear artists sound like they are actually enjoying their craft, and the Jim Jones Revue do that in spades.