John and the Sisters

Aug 11, 2004 at 12:00 am

I realize that this is a bit of a stretch for any sane person to do, but try and imagine what a song would sound like if, say, Prince went totally stark raving insane and then mutated into, say, a grizzled axe-wielding Delta bluesman with a hair trigger temper. Nah, on second thought, that doesn’t even come close to telling you what kind of thunderous cacophony the first track, “Too Damn Big,” sounds like.

The song itself is ravingly sung by John Dickie, he being the John of the group’s name. Meanwhile, the backing band — known as the Sisters Euclid — is a constellation of stellar musicians like Kevin Breit, Ian Desouza, Rob Gusevs and Gary Taylor, who are ably aided and abetted by a competent cadre of assorted friends and family members.

If the name Kevin Breit sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because he’s best known these days for writing tastefully sensitive songs for Norah Jones. But that doesn’t mean that he’s not also capable of making the kind of riotous music that would have a lesser man committed to the hospital for the musically insane.

The rest of the album is a bit more traditional, but the needle still dips into the red and there are enough musical detours to keep you on your toes. So maybe it’s better to think of this one as a swampy saxed-up cross between Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen and the Rolling Stones’ Jamming With Edward via John Zorn’s neo-noir Spillane.

Nah, on second thought, I’ll just defer to the sticker on the front cover that declaims this album as being “blistering, genre-bending, live-off-the-floor, crazy burning cosmic blues from another planet” — which is putting it mildly.

Say, do you hear sirens?

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at [email protected].