Texan’s get the re-release treatment
In 2015, we aren’t supposed to need record labels. We are all supposed to be DIY, snatching back the punk ethos and sticking it to the man. There’s a certain truth in that. But then, there are certain brilliant people who are just trying to get brilliant music out there to be heard.
Take LA based Ripple Music. Not only did those guys give us the phenomenal Stone Axe, they release all kinds of fuzzed up, crazy shit. It comes as no surprise that they are handling the re-issue of this, the 2014 self-titled debut from Switchblade Jesus. Indeed the only shock is that the record wasn’t heard everywhere there are men with beards and Clutch T-shirts on last time around.
Let’s get this said from the off. “Switchblade Jesus” is phenomenal. There’s an acoustic opener “Into Nothing” after which we are straight off to work, and the order of business here is kind of halfway between “Wiseblood” era Corrosion Of Conformity and “From Beale St. To Oblivion” by Clutch, which means that business is extremely good.
With a similar voice – and gift for wordplay – to Neil Fallon, you’d swear the opening to “Bastard Son” was Maryland’s finest and by the time singer Peter Quarnstrom screamed “your daddy was a bastard, baby” you are snared in its wonderful world. Likewise “The Wolves” contains a hook line of “I’m a baby with a gun.” You don’t know why, and neither do you care.
An album that is proudly wearing it’s influences on its sleeveless denim jacket, “Sick Mouth” comes on like COC arm wrestling Orange Goblin, then “Equinox” rolls round the floor to get down and dirty like Down getting pissed in a honky tonk with Black Label Society.
“…..Jesus” only has eight tracks. It doesn’t need any more. This is quite wonderful. It rocks, it rolls and it packs in more riffs and hooks than most bands manage in a career. “Renegade Riders” is a groovy little thing, and “Copperhead” takes over where that left off, only adding more rumble.
It concludes with the track chosen to be “the single” – that is to say they made a video for it – and after beginning again with acoustics, “Oblivion” is perhaps the heaviest thing here and pummels its way through six and a half minutes.
Switchblade Jesus – the group – are very evidently brilliant. “Switchblade Jesus” – the album – is a work of something approaching perfection. You need this record, we all need this band.