The Jim Jones Revue - The Savage Heart (Play It Again Sam/Punk Rock Blues)

The Savage Heart is the 3rd studio album from The Jim Jones Revue, and at times it attempts to pitch itself as a more accessible and poppier record than its predecessors. The edition of Henri Herbert as a permanent member of the group on keys has contributed to a slight shift in the complexion of the band’s sound, although the production from Jim Sclavunos and mixing from Jim Abbiss has left this record feeling a little cleaner than previous efforts.

Released Oct 29th, 2012 via PIAS / By Dave Reynolds
The Jim Jones Revue - The Savage Heart (Play It Again Sam/Punk Rock Blues) Keys have been a major part of the band’s repertoire before, but The Savage Heart opens up sounding like they have taken control of the wheel and tapped on the brakes. Opener ‘It’s Gotta Be About Me’ showcases the heightened levels of production that lead to a slight sense of sterility; the structure trots along a little predictably. Jim Jones’ voice is still one of Rock'n’Roll’s great sounds, growly and authentic as it is, but the clinicalness of what surrounds it leaves one yearning for bar fights, sawdust on the floor and a bit more character.

That bluesy authenticity shines through in other places however. On ‘7 Times Around The Sun’ the piano sinks into a low blues riff, twinned with a shuffling beat and Mr Jones wondering “Am I in this world?” With lyrics like “I carried that lawnmower seven times around the sun”, the answer is probably not. ‘In And Out of Harm’s Way’ is also a highlight, with the keys actually serving a purpose and lending to a dark, sinister atmosphere. The guitars get some time to hog the spotlight too which feels like an element that is remiss in other places on the record. At times there is a sense that now they have a permanent keys player, that he has to earn his keep by filling space on every track.

The skeleton behind what led us to fall for this band in the first place is still there, but this record comes across as a little hit and miss. Jim Jones Revue are still capable of making all the right noises when they want to, but at times too much of everything leads to not much of something.