Sunday, March 31, 2013

add 0186

Like Muddy Waters, whose final albums were among the best in his catalog, Streetcore by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros (Martin SlatteryTymon Dogg, Simon Stanford, and Scott Shields) sends Strummerinto rock & roll heaven a roaring, laughing, snarling lion. Unlike the previous Mescaleros outings, which were rooted in various world and folk musics and tempered by rock, Streetcore anchors itself in rock & roll and deadly heavy reggae (and for anyone who needs a reminder, Strummer's former band, the Clash, played reggae in the late '70s and early '80s better than a lot of that genre's artists). From "Coma Girl," the album's opening track, there is no doubt that Strummer hits bedrock with this fusion of garage band wail and dread beat. "Coma Girl" uses lean and mean guitars and Phil Spector's 1960s girl groups, then crosses them rhythmically with rocksteady basslines and enormous backbeats. Yes, it does sound like a lost cut from London Calling. A love song for a wasted mascot who flirts and inspires the various metaphorical socio-politcal gangs that are trying to rule the dawn of the end of the world, Strummer and band -- the Mescaleros, with their killer rhythms and over-the-red-line guitar and keyboard lines are as tight and tough as anybody out there -- truly find the flowers borne by suicide divas in the dustbin of the apocalypse. Writing like Bob Dylan at his most expressionistic, Strummer's urgency is beyond the warnings of the Clash's London Calling or Sandinista! Strummer's protagonist is living on the nether edge of reality, where the worst has already happened, he can only celebrate what's left in the ahses of civilization.


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