Friday, March 17, 2006

Exene marks the spot

Great as it is to see the original X line-up once in a while (especially Billy Zoom's ear-to-ear grins and sly nods as he cranks out rockabilly madness), they themselves seem to know that their recording careers are elsewhere. While John Doe looks to roots music, Exene herself is still working out her rock obsessions in her solo work. And that's a good thing because her latest album, Sev7en (on Nitro Records) may be the best X-related material that anyone from the band has done since their early 80's heydey.

Heresy as it may be, I never enjoyed the off-harmonies that Exene and Doe would do in X- didn't seem to mesh right but maybe that was the point. Exene isn't technically a great singer but she's expressive as hell and with this kind of music, that's everything. Having a band to match her is important too and the Original Sinners (talk about heresy... what a great name), she has a solid group to send up her visions, including guitarist/hubby/co-songsmith Jason Edge but not X man DJ Bonebrake who once backed her up. Not necessarily bowl-you-over stuff like her original group but it's enough to satiate any X (or punk) fan. She calls it her "Chuck Berry phase" but if so, he's on some high-powered uppers here. Even if she doesn't feel the need to make new X records, she's found a fine context for her work here, even if her guitarists lack Billy's charm.


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