Blues is a word all too easily thrown around these days; attached to the current clique of US indie bands, "bluesy" has become just another overused adjective used to describe over-hyped bands that don't actually sound all that bluesy. Jawbone, however, a one-man band from Detroit, actually does, mixing those blues up with splashes of punk guitar and garage rock, some occasional harmonica, and all while thumping away on a bass drum at his feet.
With an album played through an ancient microphone, adding an unhinged edge to his hollers and a guitar amplified through some gonzo contraption that probably breaks several EU health and safety laws, Jawbone delivers what The White Stripes have always tried to - music with contemporary tinges that ignores all modern production and recording values. Indeed, it is only those occasional neoteric noises that give away the fact that Hauling isn't 40 years old - coming from the Detroit scene of stripped-down sounds, Jawbone is as minimal and rough as it gets. Not that it's a bad thing.
His minimalist blues-rock carries nuances of pre-punk era Them and yells and stomps its way through nuances of Dylan and into a skiffle toned cover of Roger Miller's "Chug a Lug." Yelling and howling his way through "Bullcat", and with the strum-strum-strumetystrum guitar of "Drop Down Low" and "Window Hatchet Blues," Jawbone has recorded an album the way so many claim to. Only pausing for breath at "John Said", Hauling is strident from opener "Dose of Power" to penultimate track, "Reap What You Sow," before closing in the relative calm of "All Want Jesus Name."
Raucous and often guttural, the post-everything music world needs artists like Jawbone. Half eccentric, half outsider-art, he defies all the clichÃƒÂ©s and pitfalls of the proto-retro scenes that have thrown so many acts into the mainstream. Hauling is honest without ever having to try. Primitive and primal, it blows a breath of fresh air into a world overpopulated with boring and banal "retro" outfits and carries the blues into rock Ã¢â‚¬Ëœn' roll the way The Kings of Leon et al wish they could.
9.6 / 10
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