Taking a look at your surroundings. Things are a lot different than what they used to be in the year 2000. People walk around glued to cellphones, addicted to social media, taking pictures of their food before eating it. Music videos are exclusive to the internet. Donald Trump is President. Needless to say, it’s an ugly place and it feels like a revolution could break out at any moment. When it does, it will need a soundtrack. Thankfully after 17 years, Boss Hog is back with Brood X and not a moment too soon.
Boss Hog has awakened from hibernation and they’re not in a good mood.
The last time Boss Hog released an album, they had reached somewhat of a creative peak. Their sound had become far more pop while maintaining the trashy edge that made them what they were. Sleazy beats and the back and fourth call-backs between the husband/wife duo of Cristina Martinez and Jon Spencer. They were a match made in heaven’s landfill. After so many years away, what kind of world have they come back to?
Brood X kicks things off with “Billy”, a nervous jam of frantic guitar riffs, electronic beats, and Grace Slick vs PJ Harvey vocals. Not only a fitting opening to such an album but also signifying this Boss Hog is a much different affair. The mood is morose, themes darker, and the overall vibe is less tongue-in-cheek and more tongue-ripped-out.
Brood X isn’t driven by doe-eyed nostalgia, but the uncertainty of dislocation.
Where earlier works of Boss Hog relied on the banter between of the husband and wife duo, this album features more of a streamlined direction focused on Martinez’s point of view. Spencer can still be heard here and there but Martinez is the one doing the heavy lifting. On “Ground Control” Spencer is a gothic Ike Turner to Martinez’s sullen Tina. I do miss this chemistry of the two, but this new sound works better than I could ever imagine. Martinez is quite the leader and it’s fantastic to see her front and center.
There’s no pop to be had on Brood X. If I hadn’t seen the music video for “Shh Shh Shh” already, I wouldn’t be able to guess which track was the lead single. Each and every song represents the album as a whole. Something Boss Hog has never been able to do. There’s an underlying theme of danger and dysfunction that makes the album feel far more important than I originally thought. It’s like Boss Hog returned to a city they’re not happy with and ready to set it on fire in a fit of rage.
Boss Hog have nothing to prove to the current generation but prove it anyway.
With a 30 year career, Boss Hog’s releases seem to have come when their fan base least expect. Instead of returning from a near 2 decade hiatus to cash in on nostalgia tours of would-be hits, this return seems like a genuine awakening. Each member has progressed as artists and collectively grown into a different beast altogether. The growing pains of change have created a tension that’s made them a better band. Boss Hog have always been fun, but this return proves they’re more than that. Brood X is not only their strongest work but a darkhorse contender for album of the year.
For more information on Boss Hog, please visit them on Facebook
To purchase Brood X, please visit Bronze Rat Records