Brood X

Boss Hog

In The Red Records, 2017

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Though New York City's Boss Hog has existed since the late '80s (there were some breaks over the years), Brood X is only their fourth album and first in 17 years. While the band achieved cult like status in the '90s with several releases on the legendary noise rock label Amphetamine Reptile, they were never quite able to make much of a mainstream dent despite a brief stint with DGC/Geffen in the mid '90s.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Spearheaded by husband and wife duo Cristina Martinez and Jon Spencer (of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Pussy Galore), Boss Hog has a sound that has become synonymous with dirty, bluesy glam punk. Their reputation of nudity on albums, as well as in person, brought them ever more attention. While there isn't much evidence of the latter here, the former is alive and well on Brood X.

“Billy” opens the album and brings us right back to the quintessential frantic Boss Hog sound, where hypnotic and dark rock collide with a seedy, Sabbath blended with PJ Harvey feel. While rowdiness is often a theme here, songs like “Black Eyes” – despite being chock full of fuzzed-out, funky guitars – are more subdued. “Ground Control” even brings in soulful, R&B influences from Spencer on vocals that yields a more goth feel.

Deeper cuts like “Sunday Routine” with its healthy bass work and the ominous balladry of album closer “17” are in the company of the best work they've done to date. Album highlights “Rodeo Chica” with its dual gender vocals and the grungy, post-punk, and melodic alt-rock of “Formula X” are Boss Hog gold, trumping anything they've done.

While many of their peers are returning after long hiatuses with more pop-filled albums, Boss Hog is clearly not interested in that approach. Their filthy, swampy mashing of blues and punky garage rock is still inventive as it was in their heyday, and this album is as fun to listen to as it appears it was to make.

Rating: B+

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