People are getting better at comeback albums. You only need to look at Suede, Dinosaur Jr and Pixies (despite what my God Is In The TV companion Tim Russell might tell you) by way of example, to illustrate just how much life there still is in the collective old dog yet. It doesn’t always work, of course (I’m looking at you, Guns N’ Roses), so it was always going to go one way or the other for Brood X, Boss Hog‘s first album in 17 years. Happily, I can report that it truly is a resounding success.
The urgent, thunderous ‘Billy‘ is first off the bat, Cristina Martinez having lost none of her vocal ferocity as she half sings, half scowls “Billy’s on fire! He’s on the ledge. The brink of destruction“, the latter line being repeated ad infinitum over throbbing bass, clattering drums and somewhat ominous sounding guitars. Only Tom Waits‘ ‘Hell Broke Luce‘ does Apocalyptic better than this and it’s a tremendous way to begin. ‘Black Eyes‘ is also an out and out winner, seemingly an ode to sexual favours as a means to temporarily block out the pain. Or is that just me? Anyway, again it has a kickass melody, an element that will become a running theme throughout the album.
Interestingly, the terrific ‘Rodeo Chica‘ reminds me a little of The B-52’s, a kind of ‘funky punk’, if you will, while the wonderfully shouty ‘Elevator‘ makes use of a Wurlitzer organ and is utterly intoxicating, the quite marvellous ‘Formula X‘ then reminding us just where Karen O learnt her songwriting chops from.
Martinez’s partner, both in life and career, of course, is the much celebrated Jon Spencer, and his mean instrumentation plays a major part in its antagonistic nature. I suspect that in a few years time, you will be able to look up “intense” in the dictionary and find, merely, the words ‘Boss Hog’ as its definition. ‘Ground Control‘ is somewhere between The Black Keys and Gnarls Barkley, and somehow ends up sounding like it would be the perfect theme tune to Dr Who, should the powers that be ever decide that it is in need of freshening up.
Particularly stirring is finale ‘17‘, a gritty, slow burning number with tantalising poetic imagery (“Stick to the shadows, try to blend in, like a cricket in a basement or a submarine“), that glowers with increasing menace and ends with what sounds like a swarm of locusts.
Is your party boring? Well fear not, for Boss Hog have turned up after an almighty hiatus, ready to trash the drawing room and kick over your dustbin. And you know what? You’re damn well gonna LIKE it when they do.
Brood X is released on 24th March through Bronze Rat records.