CD Review: Jim Jones Revue “Burning Your House Down”

I unfortunately have few good things to say about The Jim Jones Revue’s latest release. Burning Your House Down. While the group promotes their sound as being comparable to MC5, The Stooges and other garage rock forces to be reckoned with, their newest album falls flat, existing more in the realm of boomer-friendly bar rock than punk.  

Burning You House Down seems to be an attempt at in your face, no holds barred rock ‘n’ roll that accidentally became diluted and, well, standard as a finished product. This album sounds so well thought out and carefully constructed, from frontman Jim Jones’s throaty, Raw Power era, Iggy Pop-style yelping to the group’s repetitive, honky-tonk piano solos, that no trace of grit or originality can be found within this 11-song romp.

The best compliment I can pay this album is that, yes, it is loud. Very loud. Burning Your House Down is also very slickly produced, which is one of the main elements that inhibits the effort from achieving what it presumably set out to do (rock the masses, revive the spirit of 1960s punk etc); this album would definitely benefit from some low-fi, vintage-sounding production.

One of the other big problems I had with this release was Jim Jones’s vocals, a far cry from the more stoned out, passionate and effortless voice he showcased as lead singer for Thee Hypnotics. While he’s always been a yelper, age has not served his chords well. This results in his work with the Revue sounding forced and almost painful, like a caricature of his former singing style. He spends most of this album straining himself, adding just one more overwhelming element to an already overly loud album. I only found myself enjoying my listening experience during tracks where Jones backed off on the vocals a little (most notably “Elemental” and “Shoot First”), exploring a more glam rock singing style.

I found this album to be both over and underwhelming for all the wrong reasons. The production, the vocals and the sheer volume of Burning Your House Down ironically resulted in a relatively mundane, one note product. While I am curious about the Jim Jones Revue’s live performance (I can imagine it would be, at the very least, entertaining), I would suggest passing on listening to their recorded material.

To judge the album for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/43mqejj