by Chris Familton
Spencer P. Jones has a knack of surrounding himself with superb collaborators whether it be in The Beasts of Bourbon, The Johnnys, or with the likes of Paul Kelly, Chris Bailey and Kim Salmon. Now he has teamed up with James Baker (The Scientists/Hoodoo Gurus) and Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin from The Drones and recorded a fantastic collection of visceral rock songs as The Nothing Butts.
Jones’ guitar is given both a solid backbone and space to breathe by the other musicians and they show they are just adept at ripping out a primitive Stooges-sounding slab of rock like the opener Only A Matter of Time as they are at dialing back all the bluster on the gorgeous haze of (She Walks) Between The Raindrops, a song that possesses a measured aching beauty. Jones’ songs sound like mature dispatches from a man who has been playing for decades. Mature in the sense of knowing exactly what they require sonically and in their construction. There are strains of classic songwriters like Cohen, Young and Dylan echoing across the album but Jones’s scorched earth guitar tones and battered voice ground the songs in a raw and earthy place that works to strip them of any scholarly pretension.
Jones must surely be a big musical influence on Gareth Liddiard which makes it hard to pick where the contribution of The Drones is most felt. There is a stylistic overlap and blurring of musical personalities yet that’s what makes the album such a harmonious collaboration, proving that unfettered and glorious rock n roll from a well-worn template can still sound real and enlivening.
this review was first published in Drum Media and on The Music