The Von Bondies

Pawn Shoppe Heart

Strange as it is, head Von Bondie Jason Stollsteimer endeared himself to me by getting his face pounded into beefsteak by hothead Mr. White Stripe. I always root for the underdog, and that pencil-thin moustache peppermint pants Jack White sports, frankly, sucks. Pawn Shoppe Heart is a clean, big-sounding rock recording. Its first single “C’mon, C’mon,” is criminally catchy and offers the perfect, fun summer anthem to blast out the windows of moving cars. Produced by Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, the album sounds great—and better when the volume knob is pushing the limit. The Von Bondies’ roots protrude from the same dark, dank swamp soil that nourishes The Cramps and Link Wray. Cramps front man Lux Interior would be the first one to tell you that some things are better left unclean, and the production on Pawn Shoppe, which makes the album sound so great on one hand, also stigmatizes it as a homogenized snapshot of the ’04 garage rock scene. Garage rock traditionally emphasizes the danger and juvenile-delinquent B-movie sordidness that Pawn Shoppe sells as a safe, faceless commodity.