Chain and the Gang - Minimum Rock N Roll

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2014-04-14

It might be minimum rock 'n' roll but I like it. Love it, actually. If you haven’t had a chance to give this band a listen, this would be the place to start. Perhaps you should forget Ian Svenonius used to front Nation of Ulysses and has been around since the early 90s as some political punker poet laureate and spokesman for punk cool, etc. With his latest adventure, Chain & the Gang, and with this album, Svenonius has found his groove.

Chain and the Gang sound this record more aligned, thanks to the counter vocal punch of Katie Alice Greer, with the seminal punk band X, where John Doe thrust and parried with Exene Cervenka through many a great tune. No doubt about it, this is snarly, bluesy garage band minimalism and not outright punk, for the most part. The music is two-parts attitude and one-part campy rock 'n' roll. 

While Svenonius is known to politicize and intellectualize, this album sticks mainly to the obvious, with such songs as ‘Got to Have It Every Day’ and ‘Crime Don’t Pay'. The songs can even get a bit funky, as on ‘Stuck in a Box'. Every track is catchy and hip with one-line refrains you can bob your head and snap your fingers to, while Svenonius and Katie complement each other through the deadpan snarls of minimal lyrics and spaced-out bluesy beats.

Chain and the Gang don’t bust out the jams like Social D or crawl out the camp as heavily as Electric Six, but somewhere in between is potentially the kind of seminal band which only comes around every musical generation or so. Minimum Rock N Roll is just that, and then some.  Svenonius appears to be right where he wants to be.

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