Movie Reviews


StreetcoreJoe Strummer & The Mescaleros | Streetcore
an emily blunt review

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Bluntly speaking? 'Streetcore' is simply genius. This wildly original work from Strummer and his motley crew of talents grows on you audibly, mentally and digs deep into your heart, where it plants a seed of musical joy.

As with legend Joe Strummer throughout his musical career, 'Streetcore', is filled with worldy beats orchestrated in songs penned by he and the Mescaleros, as well as friends like Danny Saber, Stormey Hormel, Antoine Domino and a Bob Marley piece for good measure.

The album has a rhythm that is less concerned with traditional "hit-song" riffs, and generic rhyming love-sick lyrics, but is more into the jam - the sounds tangible materials and man's talents can make when they sit in a room and play - all while incredibly resonating words, almost poetic in structure, wield their message.

Hence, as with the last two Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros bevy of scores in 'Rock and the X-Ray Style', and 'Global a-Go-Go', the music proudly flows with a singular spirited volley of uncommon notes, supported by a plethora of instruments, ringing of the passion these merry music makers have for music. The result is awesome.

"I was crawlin' through a festival way out west…I was thinking about love and the acid test…" starts their album. The piece called, 'Coma Girl' makes you aware, instantly, this is going to be a helluva auditory trip…you jump up raise the volume and assume the position as you're serenaded by "the excitement gang!"

In the second track, 'Get Down Moses' you're lulled by an opening beat that plays homage to a 1960's beach party beatnik gathering swiftly sweeping into a drop that brings you amid an on-going kegger beneath a banana leaf covered tent as the Jamaican sun sets to a rockin' island festival of Reggae inspired beats - you can practically smell the roasting jerk turbet some one caught before the band started to jam as your hips start to shimmy like a butterfly.

Strummer sits and jams on acoustic guitar, along with scripter Smokey Hormel, for the tune 'Long Shadow. The smooth sweet piece has dust bowlish roaming box-car mid-west crescendos that bring to mind of the overwhelming love this man had for his craft as a from the speakers Joe sings, "Somewhere in my soul there's always rock and roll!"

Track four, 'Arms Aloft' kicks back and finds the gang ridin' a rock beat tinted with psychedelic bits aside Joe's irreplaceable vocal talents. They're coolin' out.

'Ramshackle Day Parade' the group pulls out all the instruments. It's a lucid jam of pure talent; catchy, enticing and that oft wacky words within words lyrics Strummer seemed to love to weld to the notes.

Track six, Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song,' is wailed with a pub-ish sway that makes you want to wave your pint in beat as you sing along at the top of your lungs "songs of freedom…'cause all I ever had…these songs of freedom." Me at least…
On its heels track seven ' All in a Day' shifts into over drive, you can feel the gears shift as the Bob Dylanites loose and rock out.

'Burnin' Streets' slows us down and mixes about a few chords -seamlessly - in a way this lot has mastered over their work together.

Track nine 'Midnight Jam' finds Joe contorting his signature voice via static-filled voice synthesizer, your mind suddenly imagining your player has tuned in some how to a ham radio operator on radio free Europe announcing the opening lines, "This is London Calling!" is it a tongue in cheek reminder of days gone by? Not really…it's more a sleepy haunting melodic rolling ensemble meanders into a wholly hypnotic tinkling of percussion and ivory.

The final track 'Silver and Gold' isn't for the weak hearted fans of Mr. Strummer. Joe sings, 'I'm gonna travel 'round the world…see all your city lights! Do everything silver and gold. Do everything…I got to hurry up before I grow too old." As a sad violin by Tymon Dogg and Martin Slattery's Wurlitzer dance along with a breath of melancholy. It may take a few attempts before you can get through the whole song…me at least…

The album, released after Joe's untimely death, is a great final "cheers!" to his adoring audience. And musically this ten track treasure shows he had much more to bring, explore and exude but at least Joe went out with a collection that shines of his triumphant originality; a singularity we will not soon find again.

Buy It

1. Coma Girl
2. Get Down Moses
3. Long Shadow
4. Arms Aloft
5. Ramshackle Day Parade
6. Redemption Song
7. All in a Day
8. Burnin' Streets
9. Midnight Jam
10. Silver and Gold


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