The Jim Jones Revue The Savage Heart Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

A band for times when only a growling, snarling blast of unreconstructed r‘n’r will do.

Jude Clarke 2012

Jim Jones and his Revue appear, on first encounter, to be the kind of unreconstructed gang of gnarled rockers that might have been making their music at any time since “teenage music” first arrived in the 1950s to terrify parents everywhere.  

This third studio album struts in on a crest of rollicking beats and wearing the kind of snarl that even in this new century is likely to delight fans of balls-out, raucous rock‘n’roll.

Jones, on vocals, is very much the gang leader, his voice a charismatic growl from first track It’s Gotta Be About Me onwards. The album is strewn with his exclamations and declamations, from the drawn-out stuttered emphasis on “l-l-l-l-l-liar” in the accusatory Where da Money Go?, to Catastrophe’s opening “Aowwwww”.

Jones’ Leader of the Pack status is reinforced by the repeated or call-and-response backing vocals provided by the rest of the band on 7 Times Around the Sun, and again on In and Out of Harm’s Way.

Musically, new band member Henri Herbert’s piano playing lifts what might otherwise be an overly oppressive feel. His bar-room boogie piano manages to be, variously, celebratory, roiling, turbulent, manic and even – on the doo-wop ballad Midnight Oceans & The Savage Heart, with which the album closes – delicate and moving.

Bar that final track, which seems to spotlight a gentler band, in thrall to Roy Orbison as well as to Jerry Lee Lewis (or even The Cramps), this is not nuanced or subtle music.

Drums and dramatic stop-start guitar chords are used with percussive emphasis, and lyrics are alpha male and aggression-tinged: “You don’t remember me / You’re not the one you pretend to be”; “I’ll be watching you”; “It’s gotta be about me”. Songs are simply and effectively structured.

In the grand tradition of this musical form, though, sometimes a growling, snarling blast of intransigent r‘n’r is the only thing that fits the bill. For times like these, there is The Jim Jones Revue.

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