The Von Bondies – Pawn Shoppe Heart

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

The Von Bondies’ second album comes in the wake of lead singer Jason Stollsteimer’s infamous brawl with one-time mentor and fellow Detroit musician Jack White, complete with pictures of his re-arranged face in the music press. While I wouldn’t go so far as to claim there was an element of publicity stunt about the incident, its timing probably won’t hinder the pre-album hype machine.

Fortunately, there is enough of a thrill rush on PAWN SHOPPE HEART to justify the column inches. Lead single C’MON C’MON truncates the album into a neat two-minute glam stomp – scuzzy guitars, Stollsteimer’s hyper yelp and a decent enough synthesis of sleaze-punk and retro-rock to chart their lineage from Iggy and The Stooges onwards.

The boy-girl singing dynamic with guitarist and bassist Marcie and Carrie on tracks like TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE and THE FEVER works well in Vandellas-meet-Sonic Youth bursts of adrenaline, while the bluesy RIGHT OF WAY and the Nick Cave-like MAIREAD betray more of the band’s self-declared Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Otis Redding influence.

From the driving opener NO REGRETS to the unhinged hidden cover of TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS at the end, PAWN SHOPPE HEART has more than enough ramshackle lo-fi rock to keep the garage die-hards happy. The music press will probably declare it this week’s Second Coming – it’s not – but it’s an entertaining 40 minutes.

4 stars