Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Whaddaya get when you match the cool of circa-early-1970s Keith Richards with the kitsch of Elvis Presley from the same time period? A black-haired, guitar-slinging demon named Jon Spencer, for one. Spencer and his Blues Explosion bandmates, guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simmins, once showed promise of becoming America’s greatest rock ’n’ roll trio. But after a half-dozen domestic releases, it’s clear that he’s hit the wall on Plastic Fang. His guitar work is redundant, his lyrics uninspired, his lapses into “spontaneous” jive talking stage banter are longer and more frequent. Not that Fang doesn’t have some bite to it, namely, Bauer’s Telecaster, which is wielded with a precision that somehow manages to bring Spencer’s misguided forays into previously explored territory back to earth—as if to say, “C’mon, Jon, we’ve already been there before.”