Izzy Stradlin And The Ju Ju Hounds

This record is a real mixed bag of influences, but all blues-rock, so it’s cool. In Somebody Knockin’, the opening line is “Somebody, somebody was knockin’ on my door…” Well Izzy, that knocking was Keith Richards, looking to tell you to stop stealing his entire schtick. Wow, that first track is a Stones song template. The cover of the Maytall’s Pressure Drop’s crunchy guitars, sloppy vocals and fast rock beats were very satisfying, and when it breaks out into a reggae beat, well, it just brings it all home. Time Gone By is a happy, shuffling mess of big drums, slide guitar and… is that a mandolin? Very tuneful.

Shuffle It All’s bass intro really made me think of Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side. Was it supposed to? Anyway, it slams into a mid-tempo rocker the Black Crowes totally would have been happy playing. Bucket O’ Trouble speeds things up again. Izzy seems to like fuzzing out the guitars when playing at top speed. Cool. I liked the energy of this one. Train Tracks is another Crowes banger, and help me if it doesn’t sound a little like Kickin’ My Heart Around. Cool rocker, but I can’t shake the comparison.

How Will It Go is a slower country dance honker a la the Stones again. You know, I don’t mean to say he’s ripping them off completely. And it’s not a bad thing. The influence is strong, is all. And his vocals are more Keef than Mick, by far, which evens things out. Cuttin’ The Rug is pure balls-forward barroom rock with chunky guitars and straight four drums. The sped-up ending freak out was cool. Nice Hammond organ. Take A Look At That Guy is another bluesy roadhouse rocker, with a truly lovely guitar middle-to-ending section. And there’s the Stones influence again – Ronnie Wood appears. Nice! And Come On Now Inside ends the outing with slide acoustic and piano slow dance precision. But don’t go anywhere, because it seems there’s some extra noises tacked onto the end of the track (after a brief silence). It’s a sort of tribal, nearly middle-eastern instrumental fart of a track that has nothing discernible to do with the record. Why is it here? An afterthought? An idea that never became a song? A joke? Good drugs? Maybe we’ll never know.

Over all, I liked this record. I didn’t hear much indication of Guns here, and that’s refreshing. It’s just hard for me to shake the influences that are splashed all over this effort with permanent ink. Oh fuck it, who cares. Turn it up. It’s better LOUD.

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