Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, 'Scandalous' (Lost Highway)

Critical Mass
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Label: Lost Highway

by Michael Tedder

For the follow-up to their 2009 debut, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears again team with Spoon drummer Jim Eno, who as producer brings the stripped-down, punchy minimalism of his main gig. Though indebted to the brassy blasts and pleading yelps of James Brown, as well as the riffs of the MC5 and Stooges, Lewis and Co. avoid sounding either self-consciously retro or awkwardly modern on Scandalous. Instead, they simply howl, turning songs like "Booty City" and "Mustang Ranch" (named for a famous Nevada brothel) into gloriously hedonistic, Saturday-night gospel standards.

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