Now that his Blues Explosion is a thing of the past, it’s left to Jon Spencer to explore other ways of stoking rock‘n’roll’s golden fire. This spectacular second album with the HITmakers (drummer and longtime foil M Sord, Quasi’s Sam Coomes, and Spencer’s newly added ex-Pussy Galore bandmate Bob Bert on percussive “trash”) feels like the work of a man who’s rediscovered his mojo.
Reliably brusque garage-punk is the order of the day, with side helpings of sleazy R&B and retro-futurist sci-fi. Death Ray is just as great as it sounds, with Spencer reviving the spirit of early-70s Beefheart, punctuated by Coomes’s squirting synth.
They get the heebie-jeebies at CBGB on the devilish The Worst Facts, Rotting Money suddenly shoots from a low blues into a full-blooded yelp at the moon, and there are some delicious vamps too, none more so than album standout Worm Town.
But the album’s celebratory sense of rock’s past and present is best illustrated by Get Up & Do It, which name-checks every dance craze from the funky penguin to the robot.