February 14, 2003

The John and Spencer Booze Explosion "The John and Spencer Booze Explosion"

Booze and music are two great tastes that go great together. From the too much wine and too much song of french pop, the whiskey-fuelled charm of broken-hearted country music, the beer-fuelled mayhem of punk and GBV--notice the common link here?
Since alcohol is a drug, and drugs are a part of the whole "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" creed, it's only right that booze has had a major influence on music.

The John and Spencer Booze Explosion is nothing more than John from 764 Hero and Spencer Moody of Murder City Devils (with Joe Plummer of Black Heart Procession) sitting around singing songs. It's a very hollow kind of sound; it sounds like it was recorded in an empty bar, and that may in fact be the point. I've got to give these guys credit; they've chosen some excellent songs to cover. I'll also come out and say that "Boxing" (a Ben Folds Five number) is a favorite and John and Spencer's version do it no justice whatsoever, and is perhaps the only bum moment on here.

Apparently, this record was inspired by a drunken evening spent onstage singing cover songs. I'm not sure how they recorded this, but they've captured that mood wonderfully. It took a while to really warm up to this little record--much like that first time I drank Campari--but once I did, I've enjoyed it immensly. Several of these songs, such as Velvet Underground's "Jesus" and Fred Neil's "Felicity," were already rough around the edges, so John & Spencer's work really doesn't deviate too much from the formula. On "The Girls and the Dogs" (a Jacques Brel song covered by Scott Walker), John and Spencer's boozed-up approach actually benefits the song, turning this little forgotten number into a lovely, humorous and drunken nightclub sing-along.

The John & Spencer Booze Explosion is a fun, less-than-serious but far-from-pisstake romp through some great and obscure songs. I'm pretty sure that this really isn't anything more than a fun one-off, and I doubt that it will be anything more than an occasional listen, but it's still quite a pleasure. Good to know that serious musicians such as these fellows like to blow off steam, and it was kind of nice for them to include us for this little booze-driven excursion.

--Joseph Kyle

No comments: