Record review: Iggy & The Stooges – Ready to Die (2013, LP)

Never one to shy away from controversy, Iggy Pop is now 66 and appears on his band’s latest album cover semi-naked and strapped up with explosives in a gunman’s crosshairs; not the most tasteful of artistic choices given recent events in the US. Thankfully, music-wise, the influential frontman is nowhere near being ready to die, and still puts as much of his heart and soul into his music and performance as he did when The Stooges formed in the mid-sixties. Incredibly, this is only the band’s fifth album in that time, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the proto-punk pioneers. Opener ‘Burn’ is dark and sludgy and sets the tone for what follows. “You’re taking over as the world turns, I’m on fire with a reptile, burn burn,” grumbles Pop, who’s in a pretty miserable mood throughout the whole album. ‘Gun’ sees him ranting “If I had a f**king gun, I could shoot at everyone” with typical Pop venom over a barrage of buzz-saw guitars, and ‘DD’s’ is a pretty ridiculous ditty about – you guessed it – massive breasts, reaffirming Pop’s determination to never grow up. Guitarist James Williamson is on top form throughout, having only picked up a guitar again in 2009 after a twenty year career in the electronics industry. There are a couple of clunky ballads to offer a bit of variety to the sounds on offer, including the downbeat ‘Beat That Guy’ on which Williamson solos like it’s 1975 all over again, and overall this album will feel very familiar to fans of The Stooges. (Fat Possum)

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