The Jim Jones Revue make real, raucous, kickass rock ‘n roll as if they were given a handbook, or shown the way by long-gone legends. There’s something explosive, masterful, core-shaking about the way they knock songs out, an almost too easy power that can’t come as easily as it seems to. Managing to bring back the intensity and craft of the old school without an ounce of dust to knock off (though the dancing that this album engenders would easily knock all that off). There’s something riotously timeless about the way that Burning Your House Down rocks.
Hearkening back to MC5, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Stooges, the London-based dudes kick out the jams from the get-go. Opener “Dishonest John” relies on a snarling wildcat riff, snapping drums, and Jones’ edge-of-your-seat howls, while pianist Elliot Mortimer’s Little Richard licks keep things fresh, almost paradoxically by finding familiar territory. The brief rager ends, only to give way to the sly piano slide of “High Horse”, Jones once again barking and growling, vowing to “pull you back down from your high horse.” Though this song, too, clocks in just over two and a half minutes, there’s still plenty of time for a ripchord guitar solo, one of the many lightning-strike moments on the disc.
The album’s title track finds Jones eerily close to Tom Waits’ territory, vocally, but perhaps with a bit more high end. The gravelly vocals kick and scream over a gravelly bed of garage-y blues rock, the bass and guitar crunching their way into the deepest corners of your brain. Mortimer’s keys are again in spectacular form, clanking out the bluesy complement to Jones’ wail. The fire of “Elemental” crackles and hums, one of the more intense tracks on a disc full of nonstop intensity.
Burning in Your House isn’t part of any trend, doesn’t sound anything like anything else coming out around it. Instead, it perfectly recaptures highlights far enough in the past that they sound new, the songwriting, musicianship, and intensity all thriving together in its own singular energy.