Monday, September 26, 2005

Oh dear, oh dear

Some things in rock journalism are inevitable. Every time David Bowie or Prince release a new album, it will be reviewed by a past disciple who will announce it as a return to form. A few weeks or months shall pass, and it will be revised downwards by popular consensus as "just another underwhelming new David Bowie/Prince album".

The last issue of UNCUT similarly built up the new Rolling Stones album as something similar, their best since SOME GIRLS was the claim. Finally got round to giving it a spin. I wouldn't argue it has some genuine high water marks, but I wouldn't claim it was better than TATTOO YOU or even STEEL WHEELS. The opening track, Rough Justice has some great Ron Wood guitar work, with a tone straight outta The Faces' playbook, and is matched by some old-school Mick Jagger misogynistic strut. Back Of My Hand honestly wouldn't have been out of place on STICKY FINGERS or EXILE ON MAIN STREET. I mean it man, it's that good. Keith throws in a typically swoonsome ballad (This Place Is Empty) which sounds like Tom Waits impersonating Anthony Newell, while covering Al Green. Only better. Anyway, if you've heard MAIN OFFENDER, or the other Xpensive Winos albums, you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, most the rest of the album (which is definitely too long) is full of rather pedestrian filler, occasionally great opening licks then descend into clunky verses that go nowhere interesting. But then, there's part of me that's amazed that Mick and Keef can actually spend enough time in a room together to come up with an album, let alone one that's pretty darned good in places, if ultimately uneven. Mick is especially entertaining on this record, swearing away like an ambarrassing old uncle at a family wedding. Aw, gawdblessim.