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Sour Jazz Lost For Life

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Sunday, May 5, 2002 @ 6:16 PM


(Ghostrider)

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Sour Jazz are a four piece outfit straight outta New Yawk City that wear their Iggy Pop influence on their sleeves and pull no punches when it comes to rockin’. From the title of their albums (the last one was No Values, this one is Lost For Life, both Iggy album title parodies for those of you that don’t know) to song titles like “No Fun(House)” to the singer’s dead-on Iggy sounding voice, these guysare basically making the kind of records Iggy made before the ‘80s and that fans have been begging him to make ever since…and that’s cool with me ‘cause I love those early Iggy/Stooges albums!

Lead by the guitar mastery of former Motorcycle Boy and Marky Ramone axesmith Mr. Rat Boy, Sour Jazz revel in sleazy, gutter rock n’ roll as exemplified by the opening track, “Mr. Popular.” Built around a tasty twin guitar riff and a New Values push and pull groove, “Mr. Popular” is Iggy at his prime, complete with taunting baritone vocals and ass-shakin’ beat courtesy of bassist Mark Rubinstein and drummer Splat Fitzgerald. Vocalist Lou Paris sounds like the Frankenstein son of Iggy, Luxx Interior of The Cramps and Fred Schneider of the B52s and while his sound may not be original it sure does sound cool. On “I’ve Got It All” and “Hold On Me” the band plunges into Doors territory, adding some organ drenched velvet blues to the proceedings and easing back a notch to let Paris really sell the song, and he does with ease and charisma. “Easy As PI” is a rocket-fueled bar-burner complete with some ‘80s synth and raucous riffing from the Rat. “I Like The City” is pure NYC rock, a tribute to the Big Apple set to a bouncy beat ala Iggy’s Kill City or Lust For Life, while “Hot Rod Spaceman” is a turbo-charged instrumental built around a hard as nails, cheap as dirt riff. “Dig It Up” fins the band in lounge funk mode, bopping around another Doors-y groove ala “Touch Me,” while “Messin’ With The Kid” is a cover of the Saints ballad that sounds just like “Sway” by the Stones. The album closes with a 10-minute noise jam just like the first two Stooges albums. Hey, at least they were paying attention in rock school, right?

There ain’t nothin’ new here, folks, but if ya like Iggy, love the Stooges or just dig some hip yet retro proto-punk rawk, Sour Jazz is definitely the band for you. And for those of you that keep whining about Iggy mellowing out, Wayne Kramer (MC5) getting too artsy fartsy or David Johansen (NY Dolls) morphing into Buster Poindexter, this should quiet ya down for a little while.

***1/2


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