Joe Strummer & The Mescalaros - Rock Art and the X Ray Style
Hellcat Records

The only thing that bothers me about this album is I
can't say for sure whether I would like it as much if
I didn't know it was Joe Strummer.  The Clash is one
of a handful of bands toward whom I have romanticized,
preposterous feelings of good will and maybe I cannot
objectively review anything with which a former Clash
member is associated.  I mean, I *Really Like* Big
Audio Dynamite.

But what Strummer has created here is something that I think is really very good. The 10 songs on this album are marvellously diverse--there are rock influences, reggae influences, even some electronic influences. And Strummer is an absolute master of rhythm and catchy hooks.
Just like the Clash doing white boy reggae wasn't them trying to ape reggae masters such as Doctor Alimantado, but rather building on those roots; when Strummer does a sort of white boy blues (as on "Snadpaper Blues") it isn't just him apeing Muddy Waters, it's Strummer putting his own spin on things, and the result is quite compelling.
Nitcomb is a charming gem revealing bluegrass/country and western roots.
Rock Art is still treating many of the same themes addressed in London Calling and The Clash, but through different musical styles. The era for boisterous punk rock may have passed by completely -- and it has certainly passed for Strummer. What is left in its wake, in the hands of one of the most boisterous and most punk of punk rockers, is an album that comes off as authentic, catchy, genuine. There is no false bravado left -- the crap has indeed been cut.
...ron provine...

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