Something Old and Something New
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Freedom Tower is a riff on the blues genre. They sound like the B 52’s meets the Beastie Boys with a little touch of E-Pro Beck. So, it comes as no surprise that the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion worked with both Beck and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys in their previous albums.
The lead guitar starts every song with a riff that acts as leitmotif for the entirety of the track. The voice is constantly reverbed in the style of 70s rock. The drums are constant with a few fills that have a surf tock feel to it.
The mixing of genres gives The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion an authentic sound that pays tribute to their influences. “Wax Dummy” begins with a very Hendrix “Foxey Lady” feel to it. “Do the Get Down” has the same groove structure of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” while “Crossroad Hop” is the most reflective of the Beastie Boys’ mentoring. The diversity of melodic and rhythmic nuances on the album, in keeping with a basic structure that is the thread of each track, allows the album to be both multifaceted and still have a homogeneous listening experience from the first track to the last.
Even with all of the familiarity found within the tracks, Freedom Tower still has a fresh sound in contrast with other blues albums released today. So far the blues genre seems to either revert to the roots or do as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion does and attempts to reinvent the genre. Other artists have taken other routes in incorporating blues influences into their vocals and guitar, but kept the percussion more simplistic. Indie Blues is an up and coming genre that’s starting to reach more mainstream artists like Hozier and bring attention to lesser known artists like Shakey Graves . The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is clearly trying to bring the blues back with their own retro and alternative twist.