Super Natural - Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind (Hound Gawd Records)
You really don’t want to read another review masquerading as a song-by-song description of an album you’ve never heard? Good. You’re not going to get one.
Drop your preconceptions, too, if you’re a fan of the late great Jim Jones Revue.They’ve been dead and buried for close on three years. His other bands, Black Moses and Thee Hypnotics, have been decomposing in their graves for much longer than that.
It’s inevitable that people will compare Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind to That Band That Came Before It. Both carry the Jones moniker and play brash, acerbic, combustible rock and roll. Both have the same formidable frontman. Both also need to be considered on their own merits.
“Super Natural” has plenty of those. And guitars. They roar around this album like fuzz-laden V2 buzzbombs on a mission to lay waste to entire London blocks. There are chunks of choppy piano and a thunderous bottom end to most songs.
The bottom line is that Jim Jones has assembled yet another killer band (bassist Gavin Jay is the only member of the Revue to hang in) to deliver yet another killer album of adventurous and sometimes desperate rock and roll. It's anchored in the '50s or steeped in distortion but it's rock and roll and rough enough not to bother 90 per cent of what we'd regard as mainstream radio.
“Super Natural” is sonically inspired. The guitars of Jones and Malcolm Troon cut a swathe on songs like “No Fool” and the opening “Dream”, the latter sounding like Smith and Kramer circa “High Time”. They reprise that on the rollicking “Base Is Loaded”, where Matt Millership’s keys add real roll to the rock.
Yes, this band's siimilarly configured to its successor but it stands on its own two feet. Jones is labelling their music “heavy lounge”, which is probably an allusion to there being more space in the songs. You can hear that in the stereo separation of the mix, which confines various instruments to right or left channels, but it never substitutes space for power.
The dynamics are mightily impressive on “Super Natural” and there’s a sense of a band pulling on the leash as hard as possible without ever completely spiralling off into the sunset. They’re obviously all accomplished players and they’re being encouraged to push the boat out and experiment. They’re also a gang: There’s also a touch of the tribal on songs like “Aldecide”, “Boil Your Blood” and “Something's Gonna Get Its Hands On You”.
The Righteous Mind was in the studio recording a mere five days after the Revue had played its farewell show. Jim Jones is not a man given to fucvking around or standing still.
Can’t the fucker sing too? “No Fool” sets a baleful vocal to a monolithic funereal beat, with the band locked in behind him, hammering at the gates of Hell. He’s at his creepy, lascivious best on “Shallow Grave”, five minutes of tightly-wound psychosis that isn’t leavened by the tinkling, unnerving piano.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds? I’d rather give the cabaret a miss and be assaulted live by The Righteous Mind.